DOI: 10.3390/en16176257 ISSN:

A New Path towards Sustainable Energy Transition: Techno-Economic Feasibility of a Complete Hybrid Small Modular Reactor/Hydrogen (SMR/H2) Energy System

Nikolaos Chalkiadakis, Emmanuel Stamatakis, Melina Varvayanni, Athanasios Stubos, Georgios Tzamalis, Theocharis Tsoutsos
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Control and Optimization
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Building and Construction

Small mοdular reactors (SMRs) are nuclear reactors with a smaller capacity than traditional large-scale nuclear reactors, offering advantages such as increased safety, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. By producing zero carbon emissions, SMRs represent an interesting alternative for the decarbonization of power grids. Additionally, they present a promising solution for the production of hydrogen by providing large amounts of energy for the electrolysis of water (pink hydrogen). The above hint at the attractiveness of coupling SMRs with hydrogen production and consumption centers, in order to form clusters of applications which use hydrogen as a fuel. This work showcases the techno-economic feasibility of the potential installation of an SMR system coupled with hydrogen production, the case study being the island of Crete. The overall aim of this approach is the determination of the optimal technical characteristics of such a system, as well as the estimation of the potential environmental benefits, in terms of reduction of CO2 emissions. The aforementioned system, which is also connected to the grid, is designed to serve a portion of the electric load of the island, while producing enough hydrogen to satisfy the needs of the nearby industries and hotels. The results of this work could provide an alternative sustainable approach on how a hydrogen economy, which would interconnect and decarbonize several industrial sectors, could be established on the island of Crete. The proposed systems achieve an LCOE between EUR 0.046/kWh and EUR 0.052/kWh while reducing carbon emissions by more than 5 million tons per year in certain cases.

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