Supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power cycles could be a more efficient alternative to steam Rankine cycles for power generation from coal. Using existing labyrinth seal technology, shaft-end-seal leakage can result in a 0.55–0.65% points efficiency loss for a nominally 500 MWe sCO2 power cycle plant. Low-leakage hydrodynamic face seals are capable of reducing this leakage loss and are considered a key enabling component technology for achieving 50–52% thermodynamic cycle efficiencies with indirect coal-fired sCO2 power cycles. In this paper, a hydrodynamic face seal concept is presented for utility-scale sCO2 turbines. A 3D computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model with real gas CO2 properties is developed for studying the thin-film physics. These CFD results are also compared with the predictions of a Reynolds-equation-based solver. The 3D CFD model results show large viscous shear and the associated windage heating challenge in sCO2 face seals. Following the CFD model, an axisymmetric finite-element analysis (FEA) model is developed for parametric optimization of the face seal cross section with the goal of minimizing the coning of the stationary ring. A preliminary thermal analysis of the seal is also presented. The fluid, structural, and thermal results show that large-diameter (about 24 in.) face seals with small coning (of the order of 0.0005 in.) are possible. The fluid, structural, and thermal results are used to highlight the design challenges in developing face seals for utility-scale sCO2 turbines.