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Nick Lyons
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Perhaps a more realistic solution is to lower the carbon footprint of the existing fleet using low-carbon, drop-in synthetic fuels, which could be produced with nuclear heat and power. Simultaneously, transition to a more electric fleet over time. The popular myopic focus on renewables as the only visible solution to decarbonization is striking, considering the potential for clean, abundant nuclear energy is just sitting there mostly disregarded.
Seems like a good match for a high-winged transport like a C-17.
No cobalt, no lithium, just abundant sodium and nickel. We're talking scalable.
@SJC: Core unit (including graphite) is swapped out every 7 years to avoid the problems long term graphite irradiation (swelling, etc). Terrestrial Energy knows what they are doing.
Very clever design--eliminating a helical gearset with its axial thrust has got to improve efficiency. I wonder about wear/longevity of those sliding segments. Wish them luck--lowering motor speed for highway driving should be great for increased range.
One very expensive status symbol for most buyers.
If you have a source of biogas, why not just that for your energy needs? Seems like it would be a lot simpler and less expensive.
Smart. Screen/test, isolate, rinse, repeat.
Traditionally, putting propellers far from the fuselage creates a hazard should one fail during takeoff--pilot has to manage the turning moment from single engine on one side. I suppose this isn't such a problem with the smaller takeoff/landing motors along the wingspan.
@EP: If I had to guess, and looking at the graph, large hydro (imports from Pacific NW) declined, natural gas increased, coal is already marginal. Just wait until the ill-advised shutdown of Diablo Canyon in 2025.
"...spontaneous power delivery..." Not sure that's what you mean to say--I'd rather not have my car accelerate spontaneously.
Per SJC, best use case may be for larger scale, stationary applications, where taking off a stream of nitric acid becomes a benefit, not a burden.
I assume the fuel cells need a supply of H2 (from nat gas, bio gas, syn gas) as well as CO2 from flue gas, so the additional power generated is not exactly 'free'. However, good work on a more efficient way to sequester CO2.
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.