The Liquid-Metal Closed-Cycle System of Magnetohydrodynamic Power Generation

by Richard Y. Pei, Ron Hess

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Documents a study conducted for the Department of Energy to evaluate the state of the art of liquid-metal closed-cycle magnetohydrodynamic (LMMHD) systems of electric power generation in the context of MHD technology and projected costs of advanced energy-conversion alternatives. The analyses of LMMHD two-phase flow cycles conducted by Argonne National Laboratory and cost estimates of MHD systems developed by General Electric and Westinghouse for the Energy Conversion Alternatives Study provided the basis for evaluation. Liquid metals have high conductivity even in the liquid-vapor state and can achieve a power density comparable to that of plasma MHD at much lower temperatures. LMMHD's projected R&D cost is lower and projected date of commercial availability earlier. Furthermore, LMMHD is compatible with a wider range of fuel and heat sources. However, technical and economic estimates in this report are highly uncertain. Only time and additional technical work can reduce this uncertainty.

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