Nuclear Energy Systems Laboratory (NESL) / Brayton Lab

Nuclear Energy Systems Laboratory (NESL)/Brayton Lab

Sandia National Labs has established the Nuclear Energy Systems Laboratory (NESL)/Brayton Lab to research and develop closed Brayton cycle (CBC) technology for highly efficient thermal-to-electric power conversion. While CBC’s have generated power since 1939 using air as the working fluid, the testing at Sandia’s Brayton Lab uses supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) in a configuration called the recompression CBC (RCBC). The potential economic and environmental benefits represent a revolutionary improvement over state-of-the-art, and have generated significant interest.  With the support of the Department of Energy, office of Nuclear Energy, Sandia is focused on advancing sCO2 RCBC technology for commercialization by 2020.

Supercritical carbon dioxide recompression closed Brayton cycle test assembly

a. The RCBC is predicted to convert thermal energy into electricity much more efficiently than today’s power plants do.
b. Improved efficiency means that our electricity needs can be met by using fuel, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.