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
e-mail: nfathi@unm.edu

Patrick McDaniel

Department of Nuclear Engineering,
University of New Mexico,
Albuquerque, NM 87131
e-mail: McDanielPK@aol.com

Charles Forsberg

Nuclear Science and Engineering Department,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Cambridge, MA 02139
e-mail: cforsber@mit.edu

Cassiano de Oliveira

Department of Nuclear Engineering,
University of New Mexico,
Albuquerque, NM 87131
e-mail: cassiano@unm.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received October 16, 2016; final manuscript received August 24, 2017; published online March 5, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Guoqiang Wang.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 4(2), 020911 (Mar 05, 2018) (8 pages) Paper No: NERS-16-1139; 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 efficiency of hydrogen to electricity can far exceed that of hydrogen in a standalone 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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Fig. 1

System description

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Fig. 4

Compressor pressure ratios

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Fig. 11

The required fraction of rated power for the reactor when co-firing at maximum temperature

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Fig. 10

Power increase allowed by co-firing at the maximum allowed temperature

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Fig. 9

The maximum co-firing temperature allowed to reach the system normal TIT

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Fig. 8

Hydrogen burn efficiencies when the pinch point temperature difference is constant

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Fig. 7

Power increase for NACC if the pinch point temperature difference is held constant

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Fig. 6

Increase in steam flow to maintain pinch point for the NACC system

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Fig. 5

Power increase due to co-firing at normal steam flow rates

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Fig. 3

Cycle efficiencies for NACC, SCO2, NACC&RIC, and NARC

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Fig. 2

Schematic presentation of complete NACC with RIC

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Fig. 12

Hydrogen burn efficiency at the maximum co-firing temperature

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Fig. 13

Increase in steam flow for the recuperator outlet temperature limit

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Fig. 14

Percent power increase when the steam flow is increased to reach the maximum recuperator outlet temperature

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Fig. 15

Required fraction of reactor rated power when co-firing with increased steam flow

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Fig. 16

Hydrogen burn efficiency when steam flow is increased to meet the maximum recuperator outlet temperature

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Fig. 17

Comparison of required environmental heat removal by water for NACC&RIC and NARCw systems

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Fig. 18

Recommended peak burn temperatures for NARC systems

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Fig. 19

Hydrogen burn efficiency for NARC systems

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Fig. 20

Percent power augmentation for NARC systems using co-firing

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Fig. 21

Overall system efficiencies for the co-fired systems

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Fig. 22

Estimated system volumes for NACC and NARC systems



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