Indian scientists develop test bed to generate clean energy from power plants


Indian scientists have developed a supercritical Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Brayton test facility at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) here to generate clean energy from power plants, including solar thermal, the premier institute said on Thursday.

Touted to be the first in the country, the Brayton cycle test loop facility was unveiled by Union Minister of Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan here.

The facility is part of the Indo-US consortium – Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the United States (SERIIUS).

“The test bed was developed by a research group at the inter-disciplinary centre for energy research of the IISc as part of the consortium,” an institute statement said.

Funding was provided by the Indian government’s Department of Science and Technology under the Indo-US Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Centre programme.

The new-generation high-efficiency power plants with closed cycle CO2 as the working fluid have the potential to replace steam-based nuclear and thermal power plants, thus reducing the carbon foot print significantly, the IISc said.

“This breakthrough research could potentially be game changer for meeting the energy needs of the country in terms of higher efficiency and capacity at lower operating costs and size,” Vardhan said while speaking on the occasion.

While the current day’s thermal power plants would use steam to carry the heat and turn a turbine to generate power, the research makes use of supercritical CO2 (SCO2) instead of steam to generate more power.

Supercritical refers to the state of carbon dioxide above its critical temperature of 31 C and critical pressure of 73 atmospheres, which makes it twice as dense as steam.

“Besides increasing power generation and making the process more efficient, there are other advantages of using this new technology like making the power plants cheaper with lower operating costs,” the statement added.