Integration of Intermittent Renewables and Nuclear for Low Carbon Society- MIT-Japan Joint Study

Integration of Intermittent Renewables and Nuclear for  Low Carbon Society- MIT-Japan Joint Study


>>Jordan: G Laboratory and it will be focused
on the Integration of Intermittent Renewables and Nuclear for Low Carbon Society,
a joint study by MIT and Japan. Before we begin I’ll quickly go over some
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slide and you’re welcome to watch it at any time
after it’s posted after the presentation. Today’s webinar agenda is centered around
a presentation and panel discussion from our expert panelists on their recently-released
joint study on the challenges and opportunities facing nuclear. Before we launch in to the
presentation I will provide a quite introduction of today’s panelists. Then we will have
a quick introduction from Japan, some people at
the Ministry of Economy, METI, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Following the presentation we will have a
moderated discussion and we will have a question-and-answer session with the panelists.
We’ll address the questions submitted by the audience. Today we have two outstanding
panelists to discuss our topic. Akira Omoto who is the Project Professor for the Department
of Nuclear Engineering and Management at the University of Tokyo and Charles Forsberg,
who is Director and principal investor for the MIT Salt-Cooled High Temperature Reactor
Project and the Idaho National Laboratory University Led for Hybrid Energy
Systems and with those introductions I would like to welcome our representative from
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to start the webinar.>>Takehiro: Thank you, Clarice. Hi, everyone.
This is Takehiro from Japan, one of the Japanese colleagues of _______ Initiative
and thank you for your participation today. I’m
very happy about that and I’d like to, very shortly, introduce the concept of this initiative
and this webinar. ______ Initiative is found under Free Energy Ministry this year and the
concept is a good harmonization in my understanding of nuclear energy and renewable
energy and there is some very … a lot of challenges between the two energies of the
harmonization and today we have a very interesting joint study from Japan and the
United States addressing these issues and challenges so please find some new
understanding from this webinar. Thank you.>>Jordan: And now we’re ready to just go
to the panelist presentations. I believe Dr. Omoto will be speaking first and so, Dr. Omoto,
the floor is yours.>>Akira: Thank you. Could you go to the first
slide, Slide 0? Yes, thank you, thank you for your kind introduction and thank you for
this opportunity. A little bit of a correction. I
used to be working for the University of Tokyo but currently working for Tokyo Institute
of Technology. I am now speaking from Tokyo where it is very
sunny. I cannot see any cloud in the sky with a temperature hovering around 15-20°C
or around 50°F. On a sunny day like this in
spring or autumn, solar accounts for more than 70 percent of ______ supply in Kyushu
Island with more than 10 ______ degree this island is one of the 4 major islands in Japan
and this happens during the daytime or weekends. There as the left-side photo shows
abundant growth courses are converted to solar-panel stations. Like that we see a
significant increase of solar or winter color, which often causes an excess in the price
of crops and even negative price in some part
of the world. Often nuclear energy and the renewables are considered as in conflict with
each other, however both are important for supply of low-carbon energy. So how can we
use nuclear and non-dispatchable solar and wind power in a complimentary manner in order
to achieve decarbonization at the minimum cost burden to the society? This is a focal point of this, our discussion,
today. Next slide, please? This is the outline of our discussion today and this is primarily
based on the joint study by MIT and Japan. After a brief introduction we will discuss
what is required in the grid when intermittently renewables penetrate deeply and what is possible
for integration of nuclear and intermittent renewable in low-carbon society.
Next slide, please. First of all let me discuss the economics of solar and wind. According to OECD IEA, solar becomes the cheapest
source of electricity generation in many places in the world, including China
and India. Comparison of unsubsidized levelized cost of electricity by level is
shown on this slide illustrates photovoltaic and
wind are cheaper than nuclear or new build, however the cost does not include the social
or environmental externalities nor intermittency-related cost such as battery, lock-up
power or degree of stabilization. Next slide, please. This figure is hypothetical load o
carb in Germany in 2030. It depicts that in marginal cost based kWh market intermittent
renewables penetrate deep and threaten this load power-generating source such as coal
or nuclear. Although this figure does not reflect
reality, it is still varied in a generic sense and visualizes the economic difficulty faced
by nuclear power plants due to reduced amount of kW they produce. Electricity price collapses with the share
of non-dispatchable power generation sources is
high. Prices often go negative in US due to production tax credit given to intermittent
renewables. Now I’d like to hand over to Charles.>>Charles: Could I have the next slide? I’m
in Boston of course, which is at night and we’ll need to click the slide one more time
to show the picture. The central problem or central challenge I should say with the renewables,
non-dispatchable renewables, is price collapse. This figure shows as the wholesale
price of electricity on the vertical access and
the time and hour per an 8th or time over 24 hours of one day in California. The red
line shows what the wholesale price was in 2012.
The blue line shows what the price was in 2017. What happened in these 5 years was the
installation of very large quantities of photovoltaic, which on weekends and other times
of high solar input collapsed the price of electricity until it was negative in the middle
of the day. At the same time the price of electricity
increased slightly before sunrise and after sunset. Now obviously this type of price
structure is very disadvantageous for wind, nuclear and solar. Nobody can pay for an electricity
system with negative revenue and so what it requires is large subsidies for wind
and solar to address the price collapse. At the same time you have these peaks after
– before-and-after – sunset when other power stations have to come on very quickly
and produce power when the sun goes down. In short there’s a challenge that
must be addressed because of the non- dispatchability of wind and solar. Could I
have the next slide? Solar revenue collapses as
we accelerate solar output. This is some figures from the MIT Future of Solar Energy
Study and the red line shows average-price market prices as you add solar and the blue
line shows the price revenue, price for revenue for PV as you add more solar and the
solar penetration increases from about 6 percent to 36 percent and, of course, what is
happening in the middle of the day when you have excess electricity, the price goes down
and the revenue collapses at the same time. I’m gonna have the next slide you can see
the consequences of this on a system-wide scale. Now this shows the percentage of electricity
from PV in many different countries as a function of time: Italy, Greece, Germany,
Japan and Spain and what we see in each of these countries is that initially, as solar
is installed it contributes widely to the grid’s
power production and the percentage of electricity from solar goes up very rapidly but it
levels off and it levels typically around eight percent in Europe because if you have
a lot of solar in the middle of the day adding additional
solar in the middle of the day does not contribute additional electricity of the grid.
You just have to shut down parts of your power-production system and so the question
we will be addressing today is how to reduce that kind of challenge for wind and
nuclear and solar. Could I have the next slide? Now MIT did an analysis of different power
systems to determine what the effect was of different systems. One system, which is shown
in the top figure, is we had had all energy sources (nuclear, wind, solar, coal, coal
with sequestration) and we asked what would be
the cost of electricity if you had a totally optimized system. Optimized in this case is minimizing the average
cost of electricity to the customer. So the top slide is all sources of electricity.
The bottom figure is all sources of electricity without carbon dioxide, without nuclear and,
as you see, if you take out nuclear, the price of electricity goes up. Now what we’ve done
is analysis for six different parts of the world, from left-to-right: Texas, New England,
Beijing, another area of China, the United Kingdom and France. So we have six
different electricity grids for with all energy sources and without nuclear and, as we can
see, in each of the cases, as go to less and less
CO2 emissions, in other words from left-to-right, from the blue, orange, grey, yellow,
dark-blue lines, less-and-less CO2, prices go up but if you don’t have nuclear the
prices go up more. And the problem of course is the
non-dispatchability of renewables. The challenge of providing electricity when
you do not have wind and when you do not have solar and that’s the challenge of nuclear,
that’s a challenge for renewables and the question is how do you integrate the two systems
together to minimize the total cost to society? And I’ll pass this back to Professor
Omoto.>>Akira: Thank you. Now let us look at the
data as we go, could you go to the next slide? The mere increase of the share of solar or
wind power does not necessarily lead to greenhouse gas emission reduction or affordable
price. This table shows both gCO2/kWh and cent/kWh are high in countries trying
hard to increase the share of wind whereas countries like France or Sweden with high
share of dispatchable green electricity, namely nuclear and hydro shows better performance
in this context. I think generally speaking the difference arise from coal power generation
portfolio and methods such as backup power to deal with renewables intermittency. For your information, the target of UK Climate
Change Committee is 50 cCO2/kWh and MIT’s recently both published in September
says around 10 to 25 gCO2/kWh is required for 2° scenario. Globally the current average
is around 500 gCO2/kWh, Japan is 540. The pie chart here shows that US, nuclear accounts
for 60 percent of green electricity followed by renewables. Globally nuclear power
accounts for 1/3 of green, carbon-free electricity. Next slide please? Against this
background, researchers at MIT and Japan (Tokyo Institute of Technology, University
of Tokyo and so on) started working in 2015 on these 4 topics. As they’re shown here, they range from cost
of decarbonization, how nuclear can contribute to tackle the issue created by
intermittency as well technological and institutional innovations. Can I move to the
next slide? Next slide please? As the share of
intermittent renewables increases the power system requires flexibility by three methods.
One is the flexible generation, including load-following operation or baseload power,
curtailment of excess power from renewable … I mean the curtailment cut off the
connection to the grid. Second is storage or hybrid production to trim this much in
demand and the supply. Third is smart grid management such as virtual
power plant or peer-to-peer transaction among prosumers. And of course supporting
policy tools help their implementation. Going to the next slide, very often nuclear
energy and renewables are considered as conflicting with each other. Nuclear side
may say creating tariff or production tax credit
for solar and wind are distorting market. The renewable side may nuclear destroys
environment, however both nuclear and intermittent renewables do not emit greenhouse
in the process power generation, both increase domestic energy supply and both are
capital-intensive, meaning a capacity factor is required for economics. Nuclear and
intermittent renewables can complement each other rather than fighting each other. I think the role of nuclear energy for the
carbonization, first of all supply of affordable, clean energy, not only to power _____ but
also to transportation and industry sector. Second: Helping intermittent renewables to
address adequacy issues in terms of kW and ∆kW. I’ll be talking about this a little
bit later. Thirdly, power supply to negative emission technologies and so forth. To elaborate
a little bit more on adequacy issue, adequacy of power system to ensure reliable
supply can be measure kW value, kW over value and adjustment capability to changing
to kW. As it is shown on this table, intermittent
renewables can compete in the market and merit order of marginal cost, however they have
programs inadequacy of power system because their availability depends on whether
conditions. There are clear differences between nuclear and intermittent renewable
in adequacy measures of kW and ∆kW, as it is shown here, battery storage and complementary
use with nuclear or some of France supposes intermittent renewables in ∆kW
values. We’ll explain this in more detail in the
next section. Go to the next slide. To enable complementary use of nuclear and
intermittent renewables, we need innovation technology and the institutional tools. This
section discusses such innovations. Next slide, please? Let us discuss three examples of
complementary use. The first example shown here is thermal storage, which is possible
for _____ ______ ______ ______ by installing _____ generator and oversized turbine
generator. Operational modalities that were enough electrify from solar or wind, right
with the reactor may store a partial heat without changing some of the power in the
core. Then you store the heat for electricity generation
when sun or wind is weak. In this way a nuclear power plant becomes not only an enabler
of electricity production of intermittent renewables but also becomes more profitable
since nuclear power plant decreases electricity production when it market price
is low but produces when the price is high. I
would like to hand over to Charles.>>Charles: Okay thank you. May we have the
next slide? The next couple of slides are going to go into the technology of why we
want to couple heat storage with nuclear reactors to enable the integration of nuclear
and renewables. As everybody knows you can store energy in the form of electricity,
batteries, hydro and other technologies or you
can store energy in the form of heat. Now the reason we are interested in heat storage
is it’s cheaper than electricity storage. There have been many recent studies that have
estimated electricity storage costs, that is
using batteries, pumped hydro and other technologies of the terawatt scale and the typical
costs come out around $340.00, $350.00/kWh. At those electricity storage costs, one is
talking about doubling or tripling the costs of electricity. Now in the United States,
the US Department of Energy has a goal for electricity
battery storage of $150.00 a kWh. This is for the battery only. If you add the
electronics the costs are roughly double to the
area in the neighborhood of about $300.00 per kW. DOE also has Heat Storage Goal.
This is primarily associated with concentrated solar power systems and that goal is
$15.00 a kWh, an order of magnitude less and that goal has been achieved at some solar
power stations. Because of the low cost of heat storage relative
to electricity storage, we now have solar power plants, with heat storage whereas photo
voltaic systems do not because the electricity storage technologies are more
expensive. Could we turn to the next slide? The
next slide shoes the cost of different energy storage technologies, starting with sensible
heat at the very top and going down through a wide variety of technologies with the cost
on the horizontal access and what one finds out is that the sensible heat storage
technologies as deployed are substantially cheaper than other technologies and that’s
of course actually been demonstrated in the field
as well as with mathematical calculations. Could we have the next slide? The next slide
shows heat storage that enables a base-load reactor with variable electricity output.
In the upper-left-hand corner we have the reactor.
It operates at base load, a constant production of steam. It sends a variable amount of
steam to the power cycle. All of the steam to the power cycle if there’s
a high demand but if there’s a low demand the reactor sends some of its steam downward
to the heat storage system so it’s a reactor, steady state, variable steam to the power
cycle and to eat storage. When the demand for
electricity is high, that is the price is high, the reactor sends all of its power,
all of its steam to the power cycle and steam from each
storage goes to the addition … goes to the power cycle, as is shown by the arrow on the
far right. So what we have here is a reactor at steady state with variable electricity
to the grid. There is however one other feature with heat storage. If there are times of very
low electricity prices or negative prices we
can take that electricity from the grid and use it to provide heat storage in our heat
storage system and what this does is it provides a
market that provides a minimum price for electricity and it eliminates negative price
of electricity by dumping the excess electricity into heat storage. So what we have here is a system that provides
electricity to the grid when the price is high and the demand is high but can also absorb
electricity from the grid and dump it into heat storage when the price is low. That characteristic
of course greatly improves the economics of nuclear power but it also improves
the economics of wind and solar because there is a market of last resort,
a market that will take very low-priced electricity and dump it into heat storage and thus raise
the minimum price of electricity above zero. Could I have the next slide? And now there
are many heat-storage technologies that couple – can couple – to light-water reactors
and can produce peak power. Two of these technologies – steam accumulators and sensible
heat – are commercially deployed on large, concentrated solar-power systems. Four other technologies are in various states
of development, research-and-development. This is not a comprehensive list. People have
been working on many new concepts as the market has changed and there are probably
six or seven other concepts that are not shown in this picture. I’m gonna describe one
heat-storage technology and may I have the next
slide? And that is steam accumulators. This is the oldest storage technology for
heat for the production of electricity and, of
course, again, the target is $15.00 a KWh. Now we show a picture here of a steam
accumulator on the right and what the steam accumulator does is when the price of
electricity is low steam from the reactor is used to heat the hot water to high pressure
and high temperature and the heat-storage capability
is typically 20⁓40kWh/m³. When the price of electricity is high, the pressure
relief valve is opened and hot steam goes to the
turbine to produce electricity. Could I have the next slide? That describes the technology
as steam accumulators. The first steam accumulator that was put on
the electric grid was the Charlottenberg Power Station in Berlin. It was installed
in 1929. It was a power source. To charge it was
coal to produce steam in the middle of the night and to produce peak electricity in the
middle of the day, roughly at 50 MWe with a separate turbine. So that’s the technology
of 1929. On the right we show the technology of 2017.
This happens to be the Khi Solar Power Plant in South Africa, which has steam accumulators.
You see the solar – concentrated solar power plant – on the top and you see
at the base of it the steam accumulators, which
are large tanks, below pictures of large tanks so this is the oldest technology but it’s
only one of several technologies that are also
applicable to light-water reactors. In general the
technology is used by concentrated solar systems and the technology is used by light-
water reactors are similar and, in many cases, identical because they have an identical
goal: The storage of heat at times of excess production to produce steam at other times.
With that description of heat storage I will pass the baton back to Professor Omoto.>>Akira: Thank you. Another example of complementary
use is nuclear hybrid production to produce process heat or energy
carrier such as hydrogen or transportation. By using excess thermal power from nuclear
reactor when the sun or wind is supplying enough electricity it can be converted to
producer energy carrier, for example hydrogen. Nuclear power plant does not necessarily have
to remit itself to the power generation but it can produce supply heat to local industry
and also produce energy carrier for such as hydrogen for transportation. For this high-temperature
reactor is necessary. Light-water reactor is not supplying high enough temperature.
Switching products between electricity and other products can be done while reactor
thermal power is kept constant. Japan Atomic Energy Authority, JAEA, has 30 MWe
thermal or gas-cooled reactor. This is an experimental reactor but it was 950°C. Separately
JAEA has demonstrated hydrogen production by splitting water using thermochemical
reaction on Level 3 scale. In the future I expect tests done for automatic response
using control and ______ _____ in order to switch products between electricity and
hydrogen, following great demand change. The picture here is not that of HTTL but it
depicts a model gas-turbine high-temperature reactor for coal generation of electricity
and hydrogen. Next slide, please? I think hydrogen is a leading candidate for hybrid
energy systems. To give us sufficient impact, some prerequisites exist. First of all most
of the demand such as for cars, secondly, electricity must be by a large fraction of
total production costs so as to afford to operate
for hybrid production at part load. Thirdly, product must be storable, like natural gas.
At this stage it is not clear whether there is
any other coproduct at this scale to make a real
difference. One other part of the renewables, power to gas project exists to produce
hydrogen from surface electricity from wind by splitting water. Next slide please? Hybrid
production includes supply of high-temperature steam as it processes heat to industry.
This figure shows candidates that you will see the industry requires heat higher than
300°C as a whole. Existing light-water reactor cannot supply such high temperature. I
think this pro-sectorial integration by complimentary use is important contemporary
driver to advance reactor technologies to high temperature. Such reactors are high-
temperature gas-cooled reactor, sodium-cooled fast reactor and molten salt reactor. So
Professor Forsberg, please?>>Charles: Yes, could we have the next slide?
I’d like to stand back a little further and
take a look at the broader perspective in the integration of nuclear and intermittent
renewable systems. What we’re talking about is flexible production of electricity,
industrial heat, desalination of water and other products and the goal, of course, is
the same goal in all cases. We want to be able
to fully utilize all of the energy produced by
nuclear, wind and solar. These are high-capital cost, low-operating cost technologies. If you operate them at half capacity you double
the cost of energy and, for that reason, we need to operate all of these technologies
at full load, maximum capacity and, of course, what that means is we have to design a system
that can take the variable output of this and produce electricity, as needed, for the
electricity grid but also find ways and methods to use excess energy when it’s available.
Either dump it into storage or send it to industry
or some combination so we have to think about the whole system, recognizing that, in
addition to storage, we have the option of dumping thermal energy and electricity into
the industrial sector in the form of heat with
heat storage and we have the option of a variety of electricity-storage technologies, including
electric thermal-storage technologies. So it’s
important to think about the system, as a whole, recognizing we could also dump excess
energy into the industrial sector when we have excess production from these sources.
Of course we do need to think about collocation
and the management of the entire system by a single entity so there’s a coordination
activity that is required to make efficient use of
these expensive generating technologies in the sense that they’re capital-intensive
and low-cost production of energy only happens
if we fully utilize them. Could I have the next slide? Now there a couple of institutional issues
that need to be addressed. First we need to reduce price collapse by avoiding mechanisms
such as production tax credit that subsidized excess electricity production when
it’s not needed. Negative price of electricity is not a good idea. It’s not
good wind. It’s not good for solar. It’s not good for society so we need to
have our incentives for efficient use of all electricity and not do some crazy things to
the market. The second, we need greenhouse emission reduction policies by changing the
policy tools to support all low-carbon energy sources equally (nuclear, wind and solar)
and to work out what quantities of nuclear, wind and solar will change, depending upon
of course location and local-resource availability of the renewables. Third, we
need to enable high-capacity factors for capital- intensive generating facilities. This includes,
of course grid upgrades to reduce curtailments of renewable energy sources and
incentives for all types of storage, including heat storage. Last, we need to enable
flexibility in resource management (smart grids, demand-side management and a variety
of other technologies that can efficiently use the energy when it is available). Could I have the last slide? Could I have
the next slide? Okay there it is. Take-away message: Shared goal by nuclear and intermittent
renewables, achieving a level of decarbonization at minimum cost to society.
We emphasize the cost factor because the problem is that if energy doubles or becomes
much more expensive it becomes a very large social burden to society because energy
is 6-8 percent of the Gross National Product. The methods are we can sue complementary
use of nuclear and renewable systems for flexibility. This includes flexible generation, storage
or hybrid systems and smart grid management. Now what is noteworthy about these different
technologies is there was no incentive to deploy these when you have fossil fuels. When
you have a fossil-fuel system, the answer is if you need less electricity, don’t burn
as much of the coal, oil or natural gas. So it’s an
efficient way of operating but that is not true with nuclear and renewables so we need
a new set of technologies that appropriate integrate
these technologies together to minimize cost and that brings us to our third conclusion:
The need for technology and institutional innovations an d a joint roadmap for nuclear
and intermittent renewables in option space that would provide real help on the path going
forward. With that I think we can open up the discussion to the viewers and see if they
have any questions and I’ll turn this over to
the moderator who will select which questions should be answered and which people are
called up on first.>>Jordan: Thank you so much Dr. Omoto and
Dr. Forsberg. We really appreciate that. That was an excellent overview and we are
loving it. We wanna remind everyone to go ahead and submit your questions. We have a
few audience questions but we’ll probably have time for a few more so feel free to keep
submitting questions and we’ll get to them as best we can. If we do not have time to
get to all of the questions then we will also follow up with the presenters and hopefully
if they have time we’ll answer them and get
them back to people who ask them. So with our questions, we had a couple of different
categories of questions and so I’m gonna try to group them together and do my best
on that. The first one was actually interesting
about for people who have – from someone who seems to have – read the study about
a carbon price. How does things like a carbon price factor into your analysis? What is the
lowest price option for decarbonization? In the United States I don’t think we have
a carbon price. Japan, Dr. Omoto, I guess we’ll
ask you first. Is there a carbon price in Japan?>>Akira: Well, in fact, there is no direct
carbon tax, however the indirectly there is the
carbon tax through the transportation system, for an example.>>Jordan: Thank you and to either of you,
Dr. Forsberg or Dr. Omoto, how does the carbon tax affect some of your calculations
or does it factor into your analysis in the report?>>Charles: Let me answer this. The – we
have a – challenge here. We’re changing the
system, an energy system based on fossil fuels to a low-carbon society. Neither you nor I
nor anybody else has a good feel of what the right selection of technologies will be to
minimize cost. The thing about a carbon tax is it’s a way to force people off of carbon
to allow the market to figure out the lowest-cost
solution and we support a carbon tax because of our concern about the cost structure
of getting off of carbon. If it’s too expensive, the penalties to
society will be too large and, in effect, we will not
get off carbon so it’s important find the most efficient pathway to get off of carbon,
recognizing our ignorance and the strategy to do that, which most economists support
is a carbon tax and let the market figure out what
technologies, what combination of technologies work the best.>>Jordan: Thank you so much and, in a similar
question to that, some people were discussing or asking about carbon capture.
We didn’t see a lot of carbon capture in your
presentations. Does carbon capture have a role to play in any of this and, if so, what
prices where does it possibly get modeled at and it becomes cost effective to implement?>>Charles: This is Charles but I’ll let
Professor Omoto answer that first.>>Akira: Okay I think in order to achieve
the target of restricting warming to within 2°C
to a pre-industrial level they require energy saving and increase of the free energy,
however such majors may fail, for an example, the saving. In such cases not only major
sanction but removal of generated CO2s by such means forestation, direct-air capture
and carbon storage by the use of based biomass
with carbon capture and storage may need to be implemented. As I had explained in my presentation
the nuclear would be able to assist by supplying power to negative-emission
technologies. For an example forestation requires watering, reverse osmosis to produce
potable water and its transportation by pump and that air capture, the energy cost
of direct air capture would be in the range of
1500 or 2300, which is $420.00 or $630.00 per ton CO2 or grid, according to some
information available on web. So the supplying cheap electricity from nuclear to assist
negative-emission technologies will be maybe a part of the duty of the nuclear energy in
the future. Charles?>>Charles: I don’t think I have anything
to add to that.>>Jordan: Thank you very much for that. We
got some questions also about negative- emission technology. Did you wanna have anything
else you wanted to say on what negative-emission technology is? You mentioned
there but I don’t think it was explained in the presentation.>>Charles: Professor Omoto, I’ll let you
answer that.>>Akira: Yes the negative-emission technologies,
basically to remove CO2 in the air but there is means as I mentioned before forestation
for direct-air capture and the use of biomass with carbon capture and storage. These
technologies are being development very rapidly and there is some experimental scale
facilities, there, here and there.>>Jordan: Awesome. Thank you so much so now,
kinda switching gears a little bit, we had some questions about the design of these
hybrid plants. Specifically, the first one that
came up was about hydrogen so nuclear reactors are often very big. How flexible is
something like a hydrogen-production process? How quickly could it ramp and how
flexible is it to accommodating changes in grid electricity?>>Akira: Well, in fact, there is no testing
done yet by using a real high-temperature gas-
cooled reactor but the researchers at JAEA, Japan Atomic Energy Authority, are working
on this topic and, basically, the control is done by use of the control valve and bypass
valves in a way to channel to turbine generator, channel heat to turbine generator or to
hydrogen-production facilities. I hope that in the future by using HTGR the testing will
be done to prove that such a control is possible. Unfortunately in the aftermath of 3/11, I
mean, 20, the earthquake and tsunami, in 2011, the HTGR is currently idle and hopefully
we will restart sometime in autumn next year so, at that time, hopefully such an
automatic response using control and bypass valves would be done.>>Jordan: Awesome, thank you and actually
there was kind of a follow-up question for that. In some of the designs in the report
it looked like there was an intermediate heat storage that was used as a buffer. Is that
always necessary, if you have a variable output, that quickly ramps on hydrogen production
or can you do it without an intermediate heat storage?>>Akira: Well to my knowledge the automatic
response using control valve and bypass valves in HTGR, high-temperature gas-cooled
reactor, would not need some supplementary steam generator or some heat
storage but this will be discussed further after the experimental testing using HTGR,
I think.>>Jordan: Awesome. Thank you and so we’re
gonna switch gears again because we had a lot of questions come in about some of the
cost of storage but just in case people weren’t quite aware please feel free to
submit your questions at any time. We are still
taking them and we will of course always try to follow up, if possible, with our
presenters. So changing kind of directions a little bit and in that subject of storage,
one of the things that was noticed by presenters
is there wasn’t a lot of talk of pumped hydrogen
storage or pumped hydroelectric storage, things like pumped water storage. Do you have
any research with that or what the costs are and how that plays into decarbonization?>>Charles: This is Charles Forsberg. The central
question here is the availability of appropriate sights, which depends very much
on the country you’re in. If you’re in Norway, no problem, if you’re in the Central
United States, no hills so the availability of
that option is very, very sight-specific and that’s why it received less attention than
other kinds of storage technologies, you know? It’s
great if you happen to have the right amount of rainfall and the right mountains
but, otherwise, it’s just not an option.>>Akira: Um.>>Jordan: Thank you very much. Oh, go ahead,
Dr. Omoto. Did you have something you wanted to say?>>Akira: Yes, let me supplement by saying
that pump storage is very widely done in Japan. Actually in most utility companies
in Japan they have pump-storage capacity; however the further expansion will not be
easy because of the environmental concern. The – I have touched a little bit about
the – possible curtailment of the excess electricity
from solar or wind. Actually, in Japan, in Kyushu Island, as I have mentioned, at the
early … in the beginning of my speech, the curtailment of the solar electricity is one
of the biggest concerns that which is the reality
and will be done every weekend during the springtime or the autumn but before curtailment
there is a predicated. One is the thermal forestation with the minimum, the power generation
by thermal power will be minimized and, second, predicated, thermal storage is
implemented as much as possible and if these two does not satisfy, does not still satisfy
the condition then curtailment of the electricity production, electricity connection to the
grid from solar is implemented.>>Jordan: Thank you very much for that, Dr.
Omoto and so as kind of one more follow- up to this storage question, what were some
of the costs that you projected batteries to go
down to? I know you talked a little about projecting the price of batteries over time.
What were some of the prices estimated by this
study over time for battery storage?>>Charles: We used … what we did is we looked
at what’s in the literature with people who’ve spent a great deal more time than
we have in looking at battery storage and they’ve looked at a wide variety of systems
and they end up around $300.00, $350.00 a kWh. The reasons are actually quite important
to understand. When you make anything the cost of that production depends on the
cost of raw materials. One of the reasons solar
photovoltaic has gone down is that the raw material is silicon, which makes up much of
the earth’s crust. Batteries or at least the batteries that people are considering
have expensive materials such as lithium and cobalt
and if you start with an expensive material, you end up with an expensive product.
This is why gold bracelets cost more than steel bracelets and the problem is not
a technology problem, the problem is this cost
of raw materials and batteries are intrinsically high-cost, have high-cost starting
materials, whereas heat storage, intrinsically, has very low-cost storage, very low-cost
raw materials so this all comes back to the cost of the raw materials that go into your
storage technology and that is why each storage is so much cheaper than the electrical-
storage technologies, you know? Even if you technological advances, the fundamental
cost structure will be ultimately determined by what is the cost of raw materials and
cheap raw materials as starting points, cheap product, expensive raw materials as a
starting point, expensive products.>>Jordan: Thank you very much. As a follow-up
question to that, one participant asked or one attendee asked how many times a year
does thermal-energy storage have to cycle to make it cost-effective? I know you put
in the presentation around $15.00 per kWh. Is
that? What does that correlate to in terms of discharge cycle for the Americans?>>Charles: Well the cost structure’s about
a factor of 10 less so it depends on the market/markets you’re in but obviously you’d
obviously you’d need far fewer cycles. You may need only a 4th or a 5th as many cycles
as you will with electricity storage and you know it all goes back to the cost of raw
materials in the system. If you have very expensive materials you would just have to
have a lot of cycles-per-year and if you don’t have a lotta cycles-per-year it becomes prohibitively
expensive.>>Jordan: Thank you and in that subject I
guess I’m not sure if it’s classified as always
storage or the different process but one attendee wanted to know about other types of
chemical processes that could be used for nuclear. They mentioned making synthetic
gasoline, diesel or aviation fuel with heat from the reactor. Is this being looked at
or not looked at and, if so, why?>>Charles: There is a lot of work, looking
at different hybrid systems, energy systems. Of course the big markets, the really large
markets in this are ones that produce transport fuels and the logical transport fuels that
people are looking at are first, A, hydrogen and,
second, biofuels. Now it turns out in the biofuels. Now it turns out in the biofuels
production it would require a lot of heat so if you have nuclear heat available, you
have a lower cost of the production of converting
biomass into biofuels but the big markets, simply because of that’s where the energy
is are the transport markets and, of course, there’s a competition here between people
who are pushing the production of hydrogen as a transport fuel versus biofuels versus
ammonia versus other technologies but clearly the place that nuclear energy will play in
that world in terms of large-scale chemicals are
the ones that are used in the transport sector.>>Jordan: Thank you so much so we have kind
of one more question in the technical realm, kind of cost realm and one participant
was wondering what are some of the overnight costs you assumed in the United
States and in Japan for nuclear reactors to produce these estimates?>>Charles: Yeah in the MIT Future of Nuclear
Power Study, it was $5500.00 per kW. I’m not sure what it was in the other countries.
I don’t remember. I just remember the US number was $5500.00 per kW. Of course what’s
… when you do these optimization studies of what is the optimum system, you
try different numbers and what you find out in all cases is the low-cost option is some
combination of nuclear, wind and solar. What happens if you have the cost of nuclear goes
down, there’s more nuclear if there’s cost
less. If the cost goes up you have less nuclear
but the economic optimizations always shows a
combination of those because a long-term as long-term energy storage is more expensive
than having nuclear in-the-mix. So you know the relative costs affect the ratio of what
you sue it, it doesn’t affect the fact that you have all of the technologies in-the-mix.
All of the technologies generally minimize the cost.>>Akira: Okay I’ll try to in response supplement
a little bit. In this overnight investment cost or nuclear build there is no exact date
right now although Japan has three nuclear power plants under construction. That was
these are the units, which suspended construction by 3/11 Disaster in 2011 so when
Japan starts new construction sometime in the future the real data will come in but
I think, like other countries, $5000.00 or $600.00
per-kW might be conceivable but in the case of Europe and the states they are
constructing first-of-kind plant, like, 80000 or EPR. After the experience construction
has been exhausted 20 or 30 years ago so the coupling
by … coupled by these 2 effects, the cost of the new investment will be – has
been – increased significantly and however this
situation will be a little bit different if the country continues construction of the
plants continuously like the case of the Korea. So
I cannot generalize the overnight cost. It depends on countries’ specifics, especially
if the country has a continued nuclear-energy economic program or not.>>Jordan: Thank you very much. That was an
excellent answer and so we are running out of time so I think we’ll ask one more
question and then we’ll give our presenters time
to have any wrap-up statements they might wanna add. So our final question of the night
is what do you think the NICE Future could or should do to advance these nuclear-
renewable systems? This is after all a NICE Future Initiative Webinar and so what do you
think the NICE Future could do for these type of systems to be advanced in both Japan
and the United States and in other countries?>>Akira: Well I think …>>Charles: I got it.>>Akira: Yep, go ahead.>>Charles: I’ll let Professor Omoto … Professor
Omoto start on this, on the discussion.>>Akira: Okay, I think most important is to
think about what the government can do to accelerate such things like complementary
views as a part of the NICE Future Initiative. In that context I think two things are conceivable.
One is to create a joint roadmap by nuclear and intermittent renewable and provide
funding for R&D. Since there are commonalties in either technology such as
storage and hybrid production this already mentioned at the last part of Professor Forsberg’s
presentation and, secondly, to give ______ to assure the capacity and the capability
to adjust the demanded change in the market, in order to incentivize actions for
storage and hybrid production so Charles?>>Charles: I would concur with that with an
emphasis on the observation that we’re getting off of carbon as a fuel that we can
store easily and which we’ve used for roughly 300000 years as we’ve gone from the camping
fire to the gas turbine. And so we’re heading to a future with a totally different
set of energy options and what there is, is a
need to explore that option space and lay out some roadmaps, recognizing that we have
a lot of things we don’t know and it’s just
gonna take time to sort out that option space but
we don’t have a lot of time because of the greenhouse gas concern so it’s time really
take a serious look at how you can put all the
pieces together in a way that minimizes the total
cost to society because if we do not keep those costs under control it will be very
difficult to get off of carbon if it results in a significant
decrease in the standard of living. So, in the end of the day, this is as much about
economics as it is about technology because if
we can’t get the economics right, we’re gonna keep on burning fossil fuels. That is
the reality, you know? Countries don’t burn
coal because they like coal, they burn coal because it’s cheap and they need it to maintain
their stand of living so I think it’s important to get started and to push hard
and figure out how all of these new pieces that
previously weren’t working together should work together to minimize total cost.>>Jordan: That was … seems like an excellent
statement to end on. We are out of time so, first off, I wanna say thank you so much
to everyone who presented. Our presenters were awesome. Thank you so much for all of
our attendees as well. If there are any questions that we did not get to we will follow
up and we’ll get those back to you and, for now, just thank you, everyone for attending
and have a good evening or morning.>>Akira: Thank you.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

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