Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

Earth offers us vast solar, biomass, and wind resources, sufficient to power civilized growth indefinitely. Brayton projects in clean burning bio-derived fuels and concentrated solar power contribute to the transition away from fossil fuels. Brayton’s development of combined solar and thermal storage has received international recognition.

Technical Expertise

Over 30 years of Concentrated solar power R&D

  • CSP thermo-optical modeling
  • Solar receiver design for dishes, towers, troughs
  • Articulating pipe connections for molten salt transport systems
  • Thermal energy storage using thermoclines, flowing particles (micro-sand) molten salt, thermochemical media, and phase change materials.
  • Air-Brayton, supercritical CO2, and Stirling cycles

Biomass and digester gas-power gas turbines

  • High-temp heat exchanger design for indirect combustion and waste heat recovery
  • Landfill and digester gas combustion
  • Biomass combustion
  • Novel gas turbine solid fuel combustion

Solar Receiver Technology: Gas turbine (Air-Brayton) Cycle

Applying our microturbine and gas turbine design experience, Brayton Engineers have built and tested five Dish Brayton projects. Solar receivers operating at 1300°C have been tested, employing volumetric receivers.

Recent efforts successfully tested solar-activated compressed air energy storage, and explored advanced Brayton cycles for power towers, working under Google’s RE initiative

Solar Receiver Technology:sCO2 Brayton Cycles with Energy Storage

Continuing under a series of US DOE competitive awards since 2010, Brayton is developing the solar receiver and energy storage subsystems for the future CSP Power plant. The plant will have 4 to 8 hours of thermal storage.

Thermo-chemical, molten salt, flowing particle beds, phase change materials, and packed-bed thermocline energy storage systems have been rigorously analyzed.

Solar Design & Test Facilities

Brayton’s laboratory focuses on testing, performing thermal-mechanical testing of receivers and components.

  • Solar receiver design: ray tracing, thermal analysis, CFD, FEA
  • Microchannel heat exchanger manufacturing facility
    • Vacuum brazing, laser welding, CNC machining
  • Mil-spec Qualification of high temp heat exchangers
    • Up to 100 MPa and 900C, fluids: sCO2, and air
  • Solar simulator and heat exchanger performance characterization – 400 suns, (100mm x 1000mm)

Forestry Residue

Agricultural Crop Residue


Renewable Energy Related Projects

UCAES Undersea Compressed Air Energy Storage

UCAES Undersea Compressed Air Energy Storage

Brayton Energy received SBIR Phase-1 and Phase-2 awards, to advance the development of compressed energy storage, using an innovative undersea air storage system. Period of performance DOE (2010-2015) and US Navy (2015-2016). Read More
The Wilson Solar Cooker

The Wilson Solar Cooker

The video was made by Theodora Vardouli, Derek Allen Ham, and Eric Uva, as part of their work for an entrepreneurship course taught by Professor Fiona Murray, Sloan School, MIT, May 2011. Read More
CSP Apollo

CSP Apollo

This program achieves the Department of Energy $0.06/kW-hr Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) energy target by 2020 by coupling the solar absorber, the thermal energy storage, commercial wind turbine tower technology, and a high-efficiency supercritical Read More
Biomass Conversion

Biomass Conversion

Direct biomass combustion (solid fuel internal combustion) eliminates much of the costly fuel processing associated with making either bio-oils, ethanol, or standard gasifiers. To effectively achieve direct biomass combustion in a gas turbine Read More


Brayton’s “SolarCat” solar receiver was a US-DOE Co-funded gas turbine employing an intercooled-recuperated-reheat cycle mounted on a large parabolic dish. The system is integrated with compressed air energy storage enabling peak power of 200 kWe. Read More
DOE Salt Coupler

DOE Salt Coupler

Develop a cost competitive flexible pipe coupling suitable for the full service life of a trough solar receiver using molten salt as a heat transfer fluid at 500 C or greater. Development of a rotary pipe coupler that is acceptable for molten salt operating Read More
DOE SunShot

DOE SunShot

A low-cost, high-efficiency, high-pressure-capable solar receiver architecture was developed and tested. This technology enables the sCO2 power cycles that are a key component to achieving the DoE $0.06/kWh CSP LCOE target by 2020. Read More