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Technology for Bayton-cycle powerplants using solar and nuclear energyBrayton cycle gas turbines have the potential to use either solar heat or nuclear reactors for generating from tens of kilowatts to tens of megawatts of power in space, all this from a single technology for the power generating system. Their development for solar energy dynamic power generation for the space station could be the first step in an evolution of such powerplants for a very wide range of applications. At the low power level of only 10 kWe, a power generating system has already demonstrated overall efficiency of 0.29 and operated 38 000 hr. Tests of improved components show that these components would raise that efficiency to 0.32, a value twice that demonstrated by any alternate concept. Because of this high efficiency, solar Brayton cycle power generators offer the potential to increase power per unit of solar collector area to levels exceeding four times that from photovoltaic powerplants using present technology for silicon solar cells. The technologies for solar mirrors and heat receivers are reviewed and assessed. This Brayton technology for solar powerplants is equally suitable for use with the nuclear reactors. The available long time creep data on the tantalum alloy ASTAR-811C show that such Brayton cycles can evolve to cycle peak temperatures of 1500 K (2240 F). And this same technology can be extended to generate 10 to 100 MW in space by exploiting existing technology for terrestrial gas turbines in the fields of both aircraft propulsion and stationary power generation.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Technical Publication (TP)
English, R. E.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 5, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1986
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.60:2558
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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