Operational results of a closed Brayton cycle test-loop

Steven A. Wright, Robert Fuller, Ronald J. Lipinski, Kenneth Nichols, Nicholas Brown

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    21 Scopus citations


    A number of space and terrestrial power system designs plan to use nuclear reactors that are coupled to Closed-loop Brayton Cycle (CBC) systems to generate electrical power. Because very little experience exists regarding the operational behavior of these systems, Sandia National Laboratories (through its Laboratory Directed Research and Development program) is developing a closed-loop test bed that can be used to determine the operational behavior of these systems and to validate models for these systems. Sandia has contracted Barber-Nichols Corporation to design, fabricate, and assemble a Closed-loop Brayton Cycle (CBC) system. This system was developed by modifying commercially available hardware. It uses a 30 kWe Capstone C-30 gas-turbine unit (www.capstoneturbine.com) with a modified housing that permits the attachment of an electrical heater and a water cooled chiller that are connected to the turbo-machinery in a closed loop. The test-loop reuses the Capstone turbine, compressor, and alternator. The Capstone system's nominal operating point is 1150 K turbine inlet temperature at 96,000 rpm. The annular recuperator and portions of the Capstone control system (inverter) and starter system are also reused. The rotational speed of the turbo-machinery is controlled either by adjusting the alternator load by either using the electrical grid or a separate load bank. This report describes the test-loop hardware SBL-30 (Sandia Brayton Loop-30kWe). Also presented are results of early testing and modeling of the unit. The SBL-30 hardware is currently configured with a heater that is limited to 80 kWth with a maximum outlet temperature of ∼1000 K.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationSpace Technology and Applications International Forum - STAIF 2005, Including Co-located Conferences
    Number of pages12
    StatePublished - 2005
    EventSpace Technology and Applications International Forum: Forward with a New Age of Exploration, STAIF 2005 - Albuquerque, NM, United States
    Duration: Feb 13 2005Feb 17 2005

    Publication series

    NameAIP Conference Proceedings
    ISSN (Print)0094-243X
    ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


    OtherSpace Technology and Applications International Forum: Forward with a New Age of Exploration, STAIF 2005
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityAlbuquerque, NM

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • General Physics and Astronomy


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