Thursday, May 25, 2017

USA: Funding for Supercritical CO2 Projects Could be Slashed

On Trump’s Chopping Block: The Most Important Climate Solution You’ve Never Heard Of (InsideClimate News)

Supercritical CO2 promises a quantum leap in greenhouse gas reduction, with benefits for coal power, nuclear and solar. Trump’s budget threatens to choke it off.

Credit: Sandia National Laboratories
Cutting-edge labs have been making steady progress for at least a decade on a little-known technology that promises to generate much cleaner and cheaper electricity, with gains for solar, nuclear and fossil fuels alike.

The technology, rarely mentioned outside the world of advanced energy R&D, is called "supercritical carbon dioxide," or SCO2. It may be the world's most obscure silver bullet, but it promises the kind of quantum leap so desperately sought for steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as countries try to deal with climate change.

What fired up this interest was partly supercritical CO2's "all-of-the-above" factor—its broad utility for nuclear, fossil, solar, biomass and geothermal operations turning heat into electricity. It offers to do all this much more efficiently, and at much lower cost, than is now possible.