Electrochemical Energy Storage with a Supercritical CO2 Cycle

Default ARPA-E Project Image

Niskayuna, New York
Project Term:
08/01/2014 - 12/31/2018

Technology Description:

GE is designing and testing components of a turbine system driven by high-temperature, high-pressure carbon dioxide (CO2) to develop a more durable and efficient energy conversion system. Current solar energy system components break down at high temperatures, shortening the system’s cycle life. GE’s energy storage system stores heat from the sun in molten salt at moderate temperature and uses surplus electricity from the grid to create a phase change heat sink, which helps manage the temperature of the system. Initially, the CO2 remains at a low temperature and low pressure to enable more efficient energy storage. Then, the temperature and pressure of the CO2 is increased and expanded through a turbine to generate dispatchable electricity. The dramatic change in temperature and pressure is enabled by an innovative system design that prevents thermal losses across the turbine and increases its cycle life. This grid-scale energy storage system could be coupled to a hybrid solar converter to deliver solar electricity on demand.

Potential Impact:

If successful, GE’s gas turbine could enable efficient generation of dispatchable electricity from solar energy over a 25-year cycle life.


Developing new hybrid solar systems that generate both electricity and dispatchable heat at the same time could provide domestically-sourced power at costs comparable to traditional sources, whether or not the sun is shining.


Replacing energy systems powered by fossil fuels would provide an immediate decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, 40% of which come from electricity generation today.


Cost-effective, dispatchable solar energy alternatives would stabilize electricity rates for consumers as the penetration of renewable energy increases in the coming years.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Christopher Atkinson
Project Contact:
Dr. Doug Hofer
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Southwest Research Institute

Related Projects

Release Date: