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Project Grant


Grant Description
A spectroscopy-based, real-time, fluid composition monitoring system for SCO2-based power cycles.
Place of Performance
Lafayette, Colorado 80026-8821 United States
Geographic Scope
Single Zip Code
Related Opportunity
Sporian Microsystems was awarded Project Grant DESC0021897 worth $256,491 from the Office of Science in June 2021 with work to be completed primarily in Lafayette Colorado United States. The grant has a duration of 9 months and was awarded through assistance program 81.049 Office of Science Financial Assistance Program.

SBIR Details

Research Type
SBIR Phase I
A Spectroscopy-Based, Real-Time, Fluid Composition Monitoring System for sCO2-Based Power Cycles
Power cycles based on a supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) working fluid have the potential for higher thermal efficiencies and a lower capital cost when compared to state- of-the-art, steam-based power cycles. Direct-fired, sCO2-based power cycles/systems will require fine- tuned control of the combustion process. Upsets to the operating point, which may be caused by fluctuations in the fuel composition and recycled exhaust components, could result in reduced efficiency, high pollutant emissions, or even system damage. Real-time knowledge of exhaust stream composition, notably water and carbon monoxide mass fractions, will be key to overall system operation. In the near term, sCO2-based power cycles/systems technology development would benefit greatly from the capability for real-time fuel mix and exhaust composition monitoring. What is needed is development of real-time, low-cost, rugged, fuel mix and exhaust chemical composition sensing system (for both major and minor species) for sCO2-based power cycles/systems to enable technology development and combustion process control. Sporian Microsystems has previously developed compact gas/fluid monitoring systems for the U.S. Navy and DOE based on Raman spectroscopy using cavity- based enhancement strategies that are capable of simultaneous, real-time detection of principle components (including fuel gasses) and low-level contamination. While capable of meeting many of the performance requirements in sCO2 fuel mix and exhaust composition monitoring, efforts are needed to translate/package the technology into an application-specific, industry-suitable format. Thus, the long- term objective of the proposed effort is to leverage Sporian’s prior work to realize an inexpensive, reliable, real-time composition monitoring system for sCO2-based power cycles/systems development and operation. Sporian will team with Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) for the propose effort. The Phase I effort will focus on: 1) working with technical partners and industry stakeholders to define system requirements; 2) evaluating and defining revised hardware/electronics architectures and designs; and 3) proof-of-principle testing/demonstration using benchtop-scale prototypes of enhanced-Raman-based hardware. The proposed monitoring suite will provide real-time composition information, enabling supercritical carbon dioxide technologies to provide cleaner, less expensive energy while reducing water and land usage. Better techniques for real-time composition monitoring will provide consumers with more sustainable energy sources, conserve resources, and facilitate safer and more affordable power to the consumers. Similar benefits will be seen in industries such as concentrating solar power, oil & gas, engine testing/development, power turbines, and fuel cells, among many others.
Topic Code
Solicitation Number


Last Modified 7/6/21

Period of Performance
Start Date
End Date
100% Complete

Funding Split
Federal Obligation
Non-Federal Obligation
Total Obligated
100.0% Federal Funding
0.0% Non-Federal Funding

Activity Timeline

Interactive chart of timeline of amendments to DESC0021897

Subgrant Awards

Disclosed subgrants for DESC0021897

Additional Detail

SAI Number
Award ID URI
Awardee Classifications
Small Business
Awarding Office
Funding Office
892401 SCIENCE
Awardee UEI
Awardee CAGE
Performance District
Michael Bennet
John Hickenlooper
Joe Neguse
Modified: 7/6/21