As the demand to develop more efficient energy systems increases, ways to generate power from waste heat are under investigation. The supercritical carbon dioxide recovery cycle (S-CO2 cycle) has been considered a viable candidate as a bottoming cycle for “waste heat to power” (WHP) applications, such as the utilization of gas turbine outlet heat.

One major limitation to the system is that the S-CO2 cycle operates at a low expansion ratio, which leads to a higher turbine outlet temperature. This waste heat should be recuperated in order for the overall cycle efficiency to increase. Such limitation leads to a larger recuperator, higher volume flow rate, lower temperature gradient at the heater, and more complex cycle layouts for WHP applications. These constraints ultimately lead to the increase of hardware costs, which can degrade economics of the system.

To solve the existing problems regarding the use of S-CO2 cycle for WHP applications, the possibility of using an isothermal compressor in place of a conventional compressor in a simple Brayton cycle is investigated. This solution, named the iso-Brayton cycle, though the compressor technology is still under development, seems promising because it does not require an additional heat exchanger as one of the cycle components. Furthermore, the compressing work is minimized during an isothermal compression process.

To analyze the cycle performance of the iso-Brayton cycle, it is compared with a reference cycle, the simple recuperated Brayton cycle. The parameters of cycle net efficiency and cycle net work (or net usable work) are calculated using the KAIST-CCD in-house code.

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