SMRs Could Recharge Electric Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Scientists at the University of Michigan completed a study concluding that nuclear energy and hydrogen could make an excellent fuel for recharging electric heavy-duty vehicles, as well as the use of small modular reactors (SMRs) has significant advantages for this purpose. The research was carried out in response to the growing demand for the electrification of heavy vehicles.

As part of the research, using the simulation modeling method, scientists analysed 219 hypothetical fuel stations for electric vehicles in the United States, which could have two options for electricity sources. The first are distributed energy resources, including solar panels, accumulators, and SMRs. The second is centralised power supply, requiring additional transmission lines to be built to connect to the grid.

Most of these studies assume that electricity comes from the grid, so SMRs and other distributed energy resources are treated as competitive energy sources. This is the reason why scientists at the University of Michigan have developed a model that considers the possibility of minimizing the cost of recharging heavy vehicles by optimizing investments in distributed energy resources.

The research revealed the following:

  • There is a strong market potential for micro and small modular reactors at fuel stations across the US.
  • SMRs are more cost-effective than other distributed energy resources and can guarantee that electric vehicles do not overload the grid.
  • Investments in distributed energy resources could provide annual cost savings worth nearly $2 billion across the country, while annual cost savings per single charging station could be more than $100 million.

The research findings are applicable to both electric trucks and heavy-duty hydrogen-fueled vehicles.