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Nick Lyons
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The world needs *cheap* green energy. Cheap energy is the foundation of prosperity in the modern world. There is no reason (besides entrenched interests) that affordable, safe, clean, nuclear SMRs could not be powering our world.
As far as load-shifting storage for a NPP, I am curious to compare the capital and operational cost of energy storage vs just scaling up the NPP and load-following. In the latter case your NPP capital cost goes up and capacity factor goes down, of course, but you avoid the cost of storage. For intermittent renewables the need for backfill of capacity is mandatory, of course.
Another way: synthesize low-carbon liquid fuels using nuclear heat & power. Also decarbonize the grid with nuclear. The solutions are out there.
Replace the renewable energy source with a small modular nuclear reactor and then you've got something.
Gotta start leaving that carbon in the ground. Oil company balance sheets show these reserves as assets. They are going to go to the mat against anything that impairs those assets (e.g. carbon tax, whatever). This is the fight of the 21st century.
@EP: Your scheme is not practical: just how do you identify the worst drivers, and then limit them to the automated cars? Testing? Special driver's license? I believe automated driving is going to be limited to certain very well-marked, limited access highways for a long time (decades, IMHO) before we ever get to level 5 autonomy.
Except for local emissions, hydrogen does not compete well with liquid fuels for transportation use cases--this effort is like rowing upstream against the wind in a leaky rowboat.
The EPR is the most baroque expression of the redundant engineered safety used by large PWR designs. The future of nuclear is smaller, simpler, passively safe, factory-built. See NuScale (SMR/PWR) and Terrestrial Energy (SMR/MSR). PWR = Pressurized Water Reactor MSR = Molten Salt Reactor SMR = Small Modular Reactor
@E-P: Agree--nuclear baseload running full steam 24/7 (MSR) with molten salt thermal storage of night-time production could make for very economical electricity. The article is about home battery storage, something that is good for emergency backup but is probably an overly-expensive way to store grid surplus.
Makes sense--consider: 1. Carbon emissions from battery manufacture, shipping, installation, eventual disposal. These things are not required for a house to have power--they are additional infrastructure with their own carbon footprint. 2. As the study notes, existing monetary incentives for grid demand usage are not aligned with lowered-CO2 goals. If cheap, late night base load comes from coal, demand time-shifting is not desirable from a CO2 perspective. As others have noted, if base load is nuclear, the equation becomes more favorable.
Burning an existing carbon sink NOW, when it is critical to reduce carbon emissions, while promising to pull the carbon out by regrowing a forest LATER is a loser for the climate. Pure greenwashing. Per EP: nuclear is cleaner, safer, better in every way.
Striking that there is no mention of nuclear power, which has a very small environmental footprint.
@EP: Synthetic gasoline (or other liquid fuels) is a thing--you could make it with clean energy (nuclear, hydro, solar...). Liquid fuels have great advantages in density, storage, and being useable by the existing fleet.
Used vehicles are eligible--up to 8 years old with no more than 75K miles.
@SJC: Agree DME is a great practical option for trucks/heavy equipment. Natural gas -> methanol -> DME is probably more likely than converting coal.
Seems like it would be good for plugin hybrid duty cycles, during which engine may do multiple cold starts.
@Lad: Seems to me that diesel/JP8 is a lot more practical: energy dense and transportable--no high pressure or cryogenic liquefaction required. It also does not require any new infrastructure.
Meaningful comparisons would be between Tesla S/X and Mercedes S/GS or BMW 5/X5. Use comparable classes of vehicle, classes of drivers in the same region, then you might get some useful data.
@SJC: I assume gasification of the waste converts a higher percentage to useful product than does the process of bacteria eating part of the waste and emitting methane. It would seem one of the big benefits of this is to reduce the solid waste stream going to landfills. It would be interesting to see a comparison.
NuScale SMR innovates on existing PWR tech, hopefully making NPPs something we can build again. Terrestrial Energy (SMR/MSR) promises all the benefits of NuScale with lower operating costs, higher efficiency, more flexibility (much higher heat for industrial uses). I wish them both well--both could have pilot plants running in Idaho within the next decade.
@SJC: I'm with you--much more productive use than anti-tank munitions. A fleet of fast reactors fueled with DU and spent LW reactor fuel could run for decades without putting a mining shovel in the ground.
n markets with very low-carbon electricity, such as Norway or France, electric vehicles produce less than a third of the life-cycle emissions of an average combustion-engine vehicle. Norway = hydro electricity France = nuclear electricity This is key: massive, energy-dense, low-carbon electricity generators.