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The University of Queensland Refrigerant and Supercritical CO2 Test Loop

[+] Author Affiliations
Braden Twomey, Andras Nagy, Hugh Russell, Andrew Rowlands, Jason Czapla, Rajinesh Singh, Carlos A de M Ventura, Ingo Jahn

University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia

Paper No. GT2016-58110, pp. V003T25A013; 11 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2016: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 3: Coal, Biomass and Alternative Fuels; Cycle Innovations; Electric Power; Industrial and Cogeneration; Organic Rankine Cycle Power Systems
  • Seoul, South Korea, June 13–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4974-3
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


The use of organic refrigerants or supercritical CO2 (sCO2) as a working fluid in closed loop power cycles has the potential to revolutionise power generation. Thermodynamic cycle efficiency can be improved by selecting bespoke working fluids that best suit a given combination of heat source and heat sink temperatures, but thermal efficiency can be maximised by pairing this with a custom made turbine. This work describes the development and design of a new 100kW thermal laboratory-scale test loop at the University of Queensland. The loop has capabilities for characterising both simple and recuperated refrigerant and sCO2 organic Rankine cycles in relation to overall cycle performance and for the experimental characterisation of radial inflow turbines. The aim of this facility is to generate high quality validation data and to gain new insight into overall loop performance, control operation, and loss mechanisms that prevail in all loop components, including radial turbines when operating with supercritical fluids. The paper describes the current test loop and provides details on the available test modes: an organic Rankine cycle mode, a closed loop Brayton cycle mode, and heat exchanger test mode and their respective operating ranges. The bespoke control and data acquisition system has been designed to ensure safe loop operation and shut down and to provide high quality measurement of signals from more than 60 sensors within the loop and test turbine. For each measurement, details of the uncertainty quantification in accordance with ASME standards are provided, ensuring data quality. Data from the commissioning of the facility is provided in this paper. This data confirms controlled operation of the loop and the ability to conduct both cycle characterisation tests and turbomachinery tests.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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