Friday, May 26, 2017

Want Efficient Energy? Try Carbon Dioxide-Powered Turbines

Carbon dioxide is one hell of a molecule. 

Perhaps you only know it as the stuff humans exhale and plants inhale, or the primary culprit for climate change. But CO2 is capable of so much more. For instance, some engineers think it could help make the power industry a little greener.
Now, you’re probably thinking this is a twist on carbon capture and storage. Nope. It’s about turbine generators—the enormous machines that convert heat into electricity. Most power plants use steam turbines. But turning water into a gas (steam) requires a lot of energy. Carbon dioxide exists as a gas at room temperature, saving you that trouble. Plus, it compresses far more easily, meaning you can cram a lot more of it through a turbine. A paper published in Science says extremely hot and extremely compressed—a state called supercritical—CO2 could generate more power with smaller turbines.

Read Neil Stockton’s story on Wired - “Want Efficient Energy? Try Carbon Dioxide-Powered Turbines.”

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