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Cascading approach can supply nuclear-powered heat to diverse industrial, residential applications

OCT 20, 2023
Expanding the range of needs met by nuclear-renewable integrated energy systems increases their viability and adoption.
Cascading approach can supply nuclear-powered heat to diverse industrial, residential applications internal name

Cascading approach can supply nuclear-powered heat to diverse industrial, residential applications lead image

Decarbonizing our economy has often primarily meant adopting renewable forms of electricity generation. But much of the energy we use takes the form of heat, not electricity. Because heat generation and conversion account for a significant percentage of residential and industrial carbon emissions, renewable energy systems designed to provide this heat in a carbon-free manner become increasingly necessary.

Poudel et al. examined the feasibility of supplying heat of multiple temperature grades with a nuclear-renewable integrated energy system. Using a cascading design approach, they simulated a system that could supply high-grade heat for industrial processes and recover residual heat for residential district heating.

When mixing nuclear power with renewable sources, nuclear often supplies baseload power and fills in a little extra when renewables experience downtime. But because nuclear reactors cannot start and stop quickly, finding other applications for their high-temperature steam is crucial.

“Temperature requirements of different end-use heat demands can vary significantly,” said author Bikash Poudel. “It would compromise system efficiencies to employ heat sources at different temperatures or utilize high-temperature heat directly for low-temperature end-uses.”

The team’s cascading approach allows high-temperature reactor steam to be more widely employed. They found that while the amount of available residual heat and the demand for low-temperature residential heating can both vary, supplementing that heat with steam directly from the reactor and using thermal energy storage can address these concerns.

“In future work, we intend to incorporate an optimization framework to optimize the dispatch of electricity and heat of all system components to improve their reliability and economic performance,” said author Binghui Li.

Source: “Design, modeling and simulation of nuclear-powered integrated energy systems with cascaded heating applications,” by Bikash Poudel, Mukesh Gautam, Binghui Li, Jianqiao Huang, and Jie Zhang, Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (2023). The article can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0163557 .

This paper is part of the Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems Collection, learn more here .

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