Power Cycle Assessment of Nuclear Systems, Providing Energy Storage for Low Carbon Grids

[+] Author and Article Information
Nima Fathi

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131

Patrick McDaniel

Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131

Charles Forsberg

Nuclear Science & Engineering Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139

Cassiano de Oliveira

Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037806 History: Received October 16, 2016; Revised August 24, 2017


The intermittency of renewable power generation systems on the low carbon electric grid can be alleviated by using nuclear systems as quasi-storage systems. Nuclear Air-Brayton systems can produce and store hydrogen when electric generation is abundant and then burn the hydrogen by Co-Firing when generation is limited. The rated output of a nuclear plant can be significantly augmented by Co-Firing. The incremental hydrogen to electricity efficiency can far exceed that of hydrogen in a stand-alone gas turbine. Herein we simulate and evaluate this idea on a 50 MW small modular liquid metal/molten salt reactor. Considerable power increases are predicted for Nuclear Air-Brayton systems by Co-Firing with hydrogen before the power turbine.

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