Coal-fired Power Plants Can Be Repurposed

Holtec International filed a patent application for multi-stage compressors that will allow any coal-fired power plant to be repurposed through replacing its coal-fired boiler with a Holtec SMR-160 nuclear steam supply system.

The concept underlying this approach is the use of multi-stage compressors that are capable of boosting the SMR-160’s relatively low enthalpy steam (700 psi at 595°F) to the high pressures and superheat required to operate a fossil fuel-fired power plant’s turbine generator. The required enthalpy growth can be varied to ensure continuous operation of any plant’s turbine generator and in most cases will not require any external energy input.

The SMR-160 is a light pressurized water reactor capable of generating 160 MWe of electricity using low-enriched uranium fuel with the ability to produce process heat for industrial applications and hydrogen production. The first among the three stages of preliminary design review by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission prior to supplier licensing has been completed. Now the project goes through the preliminary licensing stage with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Holtec has also applied for a General Design Assessment (GDA) for the SMR-160 in the UK.

Coal-fired power plants around the world that are currently being decommissioned can be repurposed as productive clean energy assets. This approach will help to preserve jobs associated with the operation and maintenance of the existing turbine generator and related systems and create new high-paying jobs related to the SMR-160 nuclear power plant.

Also, as a part of parallel synergistic development, Holtec develops high-efficiency solar collector technology that can be co-located with the SMR-160 reactors to generate additional energy from the sun, utilizing sites that are no longer needed for coal and ash handling facilities at the coal-fired power plant. The company expects that the balance between energy supply and demand will be achieved 24/7 thanks to the deployment of the Green Boiler with high heat storage capacity. The Green Boiler is a well-insulated thermal energy storage system with integrated steam generators capable of producing superheated, high-pressure steam for a variety of applications, including hydrogen production.