Nuclear energy could potentially be utilized in hybrid energy systems to produce synthetic fuels and feedstocks from indigenous carbon sources such as coal and biomass. First generation nuclear hybrid energy system (NHES) technology will most likely be based on conventional light water reactors (LWRs). However, these LWRs provide thermal energy at temperatures of approximately 300°C, while the desired temperatures for many chemical processes are much higher. In order to realize the benefits of nuclear hybrid energy systems with the current LWR reactor fleets, selection and development of a complimentary temperature upgrading technology is necessary. This paper provides an initial assessment of technologies that may be well suited toward LWR outlet temperature upgrading for powering elevated temperature industrial and chemical processes during periods of off-peak power demand.
Chemical heat transformers (CHTs) are a technology with the potential to meet LWR temperature upgrading requirements for NHESs. CHTs utilize chemical heat of reaction to change the temperature at which selected heat sources supply or consume thermal energy. CHTs could directly utilize LWR heat output without intermediate mechanical or electrical power conversion operations and the associated thermodynamic losses. CHT thermal characteristics are determined by selection of the chemical working pair and operating conditions. This paper discusses the chemical working pairs applicable to LWR outlet temperature upgrading and the CHT operating conditions required for providing process heat in NHES applications.