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Session Overview
11.01: Nuclear energy for zero-carbon generation & Nuclear hydrogen production
Monday, 16/Mar/2020:
3:15pm - 5:00pm

Session Chair: Joel Guidez, CEA, France
Session Chair: Shannon Bragg-Sitton, INL, United States of America
Location: L-1011

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Feasibility of Nuclear Power Generation coupling with Green House Gas Capture

Dmitry Grishchenko, Pavel Kudinov

Royal Institute of Technology, KTH

Humankind has to urgently find solutions to two major and tightly coupled problems: (i) transition to CO2-free energy and (ii) control of climate by changing concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Both problems are targeted in the UN sustainable development goals and must be achieved by 2030. Four scoping scenarios aiming to limit global temperature rise to 1.5ÂșC were summarized by the 2015 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. All of the scenarios rely on two- to six-fold increase by 2050 in nuclear energy production and require mass deployment of negative emission technologies, i.e. greenhouse gas capture (GGC). Mass deployment of the GGC technology will need a source of a CO2-free electric power and high-temperature heat. Nuclear energy can provide both.

The goal of this study is to demonstrate the feasibility of the climate control and CO2-free energy production using nuclear power coupled with GGC technology. In this work we provide (i) a review of different methods for GGC, (ii) possible approaches to optimization of energy extraction from existing and expressly designed NPP thermal cycles and electricity generation to achieve high efficiency of the coupled NPP-GGC facilities and (iii) assess the needs and potential for NPP-GGC deployment to approach pre-industrial level of greenhouse concentration in atmosphere needed to effectively counteract climate crisis.

The work aims to pave the way for the development of (i) a number of scalable solutions for the deployment of the coupled nuclear-GGC technology, and (ii) analytical methods to assess NGC efficiency and long term environmental impact.

Base-load Nuclear and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Air-Brayton Power Cycles with Thermodynamic Topping Cycles and Heat Storage for Variable Electricity and Heat

Charles Forsberg1, Patrick McDaniel2, Bahman Zohuri2, William Robb Stewart1

1MIT; 2University of New Mexico

Electricity markets are changing because of (1) the addition of wind and solar and (2) the goal of a low-carbon electricity grid. The large-scale addition of wind and solar PV results in low wholesale electricity prices at times of high wind and solar output and high prices at times of low wind and solar input. Today gas turbine combined cycle (GTCC) plants provide dispatchable electricity to match production with demand. Advanced air-Brayton cycles with heat storage enable the full thermal output of nuclear and CSP plants with dispatchable electricity to the grid. The same power cycles for advanced nuclear and CSP can be used because heat is delivered at similar temperatures. In a thermodynamic topping cycle, after air compression and heating by nuclear or solar heat using coolant-to-compressed air heat exchangers, added heat (natural gas, low-carbon hydrogen or biofuels, or low-price electricity converted to high-temperature stored heat) can further raise the temperature of the compressed air to between 1100 and 1700K before entering the turbine. The incremental heat-to-electricity efficiency is ~75%, above that of a conventional gas turbine combined cycle (GTCC) plant (~60%). The peak power output is several times the base-load gas-turbine output. At times of low electricity demand heat storage can be used to minimize electricity output. Heat storage can be (1) in the form of nitrate salt or other heat storage system between the reactor/CSP plant, (2) in the Brayton cycle and/or (3) between the Brayton cycle and the steam bottoming cycle if using a combined cycle plant. If a simple recuperated cycle, no water is required for waste heat removal. The system can provide variable electricity and assured peak generating capacity for the grid while fully utilizing the thermal output of the nuclear or CSP plant.

Examination of Hydrogen Production Efficiency Using Nuclear Power Electrical Output in Korea

Philseo Kim, Andhika Yudha Prawira, Man-Sung Yim


The Republic of Korea (ROK) has announced its hydrogen policy roadmap to use hydrogen as a major eco-friendly energy source. The roadmap proposed 6.2 million fuel cell electric vehicles and at least 1200 refilling stations by 2030 with the target price of 3000 KRW/kgH2. However, following the 'Korea's Renewable Energy 3020 Plan', announced in 2017, Korea plans to increase the proportion of renewable energy generation to 20% by 2030. Conversely, the capacity factor and availability factor of nuclear power plants in Korea reduced to only about 65% in 2018. This paper considers the idea of utilizing ROK over-produced energy from nuclear power plants to produce hydrogen. This study examines the hydrogen production cost using conventional hydrogen production methods and domestic operating nuclear power to supplement the intermittence of renewable energy and to achieve economic feasibility. This paper considers three nuclear power plants in the ROK, Shin Kori, Shin Wolsong, and Shin Hanul. The preliminary economic assessment of hydrogen production in this study used the HEEP software provided by the IAEA. Findings on this initial assessment suggest that hydrogen production using nuclear energy can be considered as one of the plausible options to be able to improve the utilization of the ROK nuclear power plant.

Nuclear-Assisted Carbon-Negative Biomass to Liquid Fuel Process Integrated with High Temperature Steam Electrolysis

Grant Hawkes, Shannon Bragg-Sitton, Hongqiang Hu

Idaho National Laboratory

A nuclear energy assisted carbon negative hybrid energy process that enables production of synthetic bio-crude oil and biochar from waste biomass is proposed. With hydrogen upgrading, the bio-crude oil is compatible with the existing conventional liquid transportation fuels infrastructure. The biochar is returned to the soil via fertilizer application and remains there for thousands of years. Since the total process uses nuclear generated electricity, the carbon in the biochar is ultimately sequestered from the atmosphere, thus making the process carbon negative. Using waste biomass, such as wheat and barley straw or corn stover, as a renewable carbon source with supplemental hydrogen from high-temperature steam electrolysis (HTSE), this hybrid energy process has the potential to provide an alternative petroleum source. Two options exist for the system design: 1) send electricity from the nuclear plant and biomass to a chemical processing plant to produce the bio-crude and biochar, 2) construct the biomass processing facility near the nuclear plant to allow use of nuclear-generated process heat to drive the chemical process that converts biomass to bio-crude and biochar while using nuclear generated electricity to run the HTSE unit. Both options are discussed in the paper, including transportation and logistical ramifications.

A fast pyrolysis process with hydrogen upgrading is used to convert the biomass to bio-crude and biochar, where hydrogen and oxygen from the HTSE unit are integrated into the process. Hydrogen is used in upgrading the pyrolysis oil to bio-crude, while oxygen is combusted with the gases produced in the pyrolyzer to provide heat for the pyrolysis process and biomass drying. An additional heat source is available by burning a portion of the biochar produced with the oxygen to provide the total necessary heat for the HTSE unit. The paper presents an overview of the system design options and preliminary technical evaluations.

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