As a result of a number of factors, our energy options are becoming more limited. Nuclear power’s prospects are uncertain, as complicated by cost and safety concerns, while fossil fuel faces mounting environmental concerns. Renewable energy is not capable of meeting all our energy needs.
An emerging advancement may alter our future energy path. The innovation integrates nuclear and fossil fuels to create a new technology branch that is powerful and highly competitive. Additionally, massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, spent nuclear fuel and coal wastes are achieved.
Figure 1 is an illustrative overview of the patented hybrid-nuclear process. The innovative hybrid uses two fuels and a large gas (combustion) turbine in tandem with a small, efficient, helium cooled, graphite moderated reactor. This unique fail-safe technology can produce large quantities of low-cost electrical power, transportation fuels and industrial chemicals while being ideally suited for supporting the highly variable needs of today’s electrical grid.
The distinctive hybrid builds on the observation that pressurization of air typically accounts for roughly one-half the fuel used by a gas/combustion turbine. Instead of generating electrical power, the nuclear reactor compresses the air subsequently used by the gas turbine, thereby nearly doubling the gas turbine’s normal electrical output while achieving about a 50% efficiency improvement. The hybrid is the most efficient method for using fossil & nuclear fuels ever created. Figure 2 illustrates a typical hybrid-nuclear power plant.
The hybrid is significantly safer than all conventional nuclear reactors. The hybrid employs multiple and diverse passive measures to insure the reactor never overheats. Additionally, multiple diverse barriers are used to insure the public is never exposed to radiation. The public remains safe even if no power, no water or plant personnel are available.
The hybrid is able to produce large quantities of compressed air with no emissions. This characteristic coupled with recent advances in tunnel boring machine means massive amounts of energy can be economically stored as compressed air, as illustrated by Figure 3. This ability and the highly maneuverable characteristics of the parent hybrid readily backstop the intermittent nature of renewable energy.
The hybrid is able to use, in a single power plant, all hydro-carbon and nuclear fuels while readily integrating with renewable energy. These powerful capabilities lead to reasonably priced and environmentally benign energy for countless future generations through a fully sustainable mix of renewable, nuclear and fossil energy resources.