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STEP 10 MWe Pilot Plant

The mission of the Supercritical Transformational Electric Power (STEP) program is to design, build, and operate a 10 MWe pilot scale facility using an indirect-fired sCO2 power cycle, demonstrate component performance and cycle operability over a range of operating conditions, and show progress towards a lower cost of electricity. The STEP facility will serve as an opportunity for industry and government to work together to develop and mature the technology at the pilot-scale to facilitate commercialization. The investment will spur the development of necessary designs, materials, components, operation and control systems, sensors, and understanding and characterization needed for commercial acceptance of large scale sCO2 power cycles. Where appropriate the facility will be used to address and resolve technology-specific issues relevant to the different heat source applications.

In DOE project DE-FE0028979, Gas Technology Institute, with partners SwRI and General Electric, is designing and building the 10 MWe pilot plant at the SwRI site in San Antonio, TX.

The objectives of the project include:

  • Operate a fully integrated functional electricity generating power plant using transformational sCO2-based power cycle technology
  • Show a pathway to efficiency > 50%
  • Prove cycle operability >700°C turbine inlet temperature and 10 MWe net power generation
  • Quantify performance benefits:
    • 2-5% point net plant efficiency improvement
    • 3-4% reduction in LCOE
    • Reduced emissions, fuel, and water usage
  • Establish a reconfigurable flexible test facility

Notable 2019 science and technology (S&T) accomplishments were celebrated by the National Energy Technology Laboratory at the third annual S&T Accomplishments Session held at the NETL Pittsburgh site on February 20, 2020, with an interactive poster session focused on technology solutions that promote safe, reliable, and affordable energy nationwide. One of the posters showcased recent progress in the STEP pilot plant project.