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Low-Cost Dispatchable CSP Engine For Residential Power

Brayton Energy
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$999,999
Location: 
Hampton, NH
Project Term: 
03/25/2019 to 09/24/2020
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Centralized U.S. power plants have an average electricity generation efficiency of approximately 33%, wasting about two-thirds of energy as heat. They emit 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), about 38% of U.S. total emissions each year. Further, 5% of electricity is lost during transmission from the power plant to the customer. An alternative to centrally produced power is distributed generation, in which electricity is generated at the point of use. Residential combined heat and power (CHP) systems can burn natural gas to produce a home's electricity while using the waste heat for space and water heating. The potential energy efficiency for CHP systems is more than 80%. Extensive adoption of these systems would dramatically reduce primary energy use and concurrent CO2 emissions. However, usage of small CHP systems is not widespread because current systems are expensive, inefficient, and have short lifespans.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
Brayton Energy is developing an efficient and low-cost distributed residential-scale combined heat and power system. This project seeks to advance and combine several complementary technologies--including metallic screw compressors, high temperature ceramic screw expanders, and a high-effectiveness recuperator. This combination will result in an integrated system with performance surpassing existing state-of-the-art systems. Brayton Energy's proposed technology would continuously deliver 2 kW of electrical power and enable efficient and economical distributed power systems that would radically transform how we heat and cool our homes.
Potential Impact: 
Brayton Energy inverts the paradigm of large centralized power plants by enabling efficient, economical, and attractive distributed power systems.
Security: 
The unit's residential scale decentralizes the nation's critical power infrastructure, reducing its vulnerability to attack or disruption.
Environment: 
Widespread adoption of high-efficiency residential CHP systems could decrease overall primary energy consumption and therefore reduce CO2 emissions from a household by up to 40%.
Economy: 
The system is efficient, durable, and economical, achieving payback in under four years for much of the U.S. This will boost its marketability and adoption by customers.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. David Tew
Project Contact: 
Mr. Shaun Sullivan
Release Date: 
11/15/2018