Scarabeus: reducing the LCOE of CSP plants through sCO2 technology

FuturENERGY March-April 2020

CSP plants are set to play an important role in the energy supply mix in the 21st century. Unfortunately, the LCOE of CSP (currently about 150 €/MWh) has not achieved the level targeted (100 €/MWh), except for few installations in exceptionally good locations. As of today, many ongoing research projects aiming at enhancing the efficiency of the power block and reducing the associated costs are based on supercritical CO2 technology. Among them, the SCARABEUS project aims to demonstrate that the application of supercritical CO2 (sCO2) blends to CSP plants has the potential to reduce CAPEX by 30% and OPEX by 35% compared to state-of-the-art steam cycles, thus exceeding the reduction achievable with standard sCO2 technology.

Almost all CSP plants in operation worldwide adopt a conventional steam cycle to convert thermal power into electricity. A few exceptions are based on Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) technology however these exceptions have a minor share of the total installed capacity, given that their typical output is in the order of 1 MW…