New international partner joins STEP demo project

11 May 2021

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has joined the supercritical transformational electric power project known as the STEP Demo. EGAT is a state-owned enterprise that provides electric power generation and transmission for the whole country, and plans to develop more facilities to keep pace with growing energy demand. 

STEP partners around the globe – the STEP Demo Joint Industry Partnership  – is aiming to demonstrate next-generation, higher-efficiency electric power plants enabled by supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) technology. International collaboration is critically important to the success of the project and EGAT’s contributions will improve the understanding of how sCO2 power plants can enable clean and cost-effective power that supports international standards.

Project oversight, technical guidance, and funding for STEP is coming from the US Dept of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory. Funding is coming from other industry partners. GTI is leading the Demo team in collaboration with Southwest Research Institute and GE Research.

The first-of-a-kind 10 MWe sCO2 pilot plant is intended to demonstrate a fully integrated functional power cycle in a test facility configured to enable optimisation of system performance and characterisation of critical components and subsystems. Construction of the dedicated building facility was completed at SwRI’s San Antonio campus in mid-2020. Component installation is now underway, and commissioning is anticipated to take place in late 2021.

Once operational, the STEP Demo pilot plant will demonstrate the sCO2 Brayton power cycle which uses high-pressure and high-temperature CO2 as a working fluid instead of steam. The ‘supercritical’ CO2 drives a turbine that is substantially smaller than a typical steam turbine and has great efficiency. The team expects to demonstrate lower capital costs and enhanced environmental performance. 

“EGAT [has] been continuously supporting and developing new technologies … one example is the installation of a 45 MWe combined solar energy and hydropower plant at Sirindhorn Dam, which is the largest hydro-floating solar hybrid project in Thailand. Concurrently, we are also developing a low-carbon conventional power plant with increased efficiency for stability of our power system, and Supercritical CO2 Brayton power cycle systems can support that. EGAT’s involvement in the STEP project can help develop technology expertise and provide guidance to improve the use of biogas-biomass, coal, and methane resources in power generation,” commented Dr Jiraporn Sirikum, deputy governor of Strategy at EGAT.

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