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Environmental, financial and energetic feasibility of the electrolysis of the water steam of the IV generation nuclear reactor coolant on the moments of low use of electric energy: challenges and perspectives.

Environmental feasibility, financial and energy of cooling water vapor electrolysis of Generation IV nuclear reactor in times of low electricity consumption: challenges and prospects

Summary

Our civilization is at a tipping point. The decisions we make in this time will lead to drastic changes in the global climate or cleaner, more sustainable energy generation models. At some point in the evolution of our society, we favor productivity over the rational use of resources of the planet. This option has led us to a situation where these resources are seriously compromised. New models of generation and use of energy should be debated and adopted in order to reverse this process.

The consumption of electricity is not constant over time and it must be generated at the time it is consumed. There are moments of great idleness in the electric power generation system, counterbalanced by moments of high demand. This feature led to the construction of a large generating capacity model that is idle most of the time, producing financial and environmental impacts gigantic. In this article, environmental, financial and energy feasibility of using the idle capacity of the electrical system will be discussed for via steam electrolysis of water, producing hydrogen that would be converted into electricity at times of peak by a fuel cell. In this study, we will investigate the feasibility of associating a SOEC (Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell) – cell solid oxide fuel acting as an electrolysis tank – a Generation IV reactor (GEN IV) to produce hydrogen from steam water, superheated in the reactor cooling, which will be converted into electricity via SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell), at peak times.

The method used in this research was to study the variation of the electric charge consumed in a day randomly selected, depending on the time of day, throw a curve in a diagram ‘Demand x Time of Day’, set times of peak, valley and the average consumption and, from these data and geometrically predict the feasibility of utilizing the energy potential of times that the curve is below the straight middle to compensate the system the moments that the curve is above the average, nearing a porch. With these data, it is possible to establish at what level the level will stabilize when the energy losses arising from conversions are integrated into the study.

In conclusion, it was noted that this option would be feasible in a universe in which the second law of thermodynamics does not vigisse. The never-ending conversions between energy drew the line level very close to the peak of the original curve, preventing its adoption of energy point of view. However, hydrogen is a value-added input greater than electricity. It was found that the technology use of fuel cells operating as solid oxide electrolysis tank (SOEC) associated with a nuclear reactor is very promising for the production of this important energy vector to be allocated to other mobile or portable applications.

Environmental, financial and energy feasibility of the electrolysis of the water steam of a generation IV reactor cooling system during the moments of low consumption of electrical energy: challenges and perspectives

Abstract

Our civilization is in an inflection moment. Our current decisions will lead us to drastic changes in the planet climate or to cleaner and more sustainable energy generation models. In a certain moment in the evolution of our society, we have privileged the productivity instead of the reasonable use of the planet’s resources. This option has been leading us to a situation in which these resources are seriously jeopardized. New models of energy generation and use should be discussed and adopted in order to reverse this process.

The electric-power consumption is not constant through time and it must be generated at the moment it is going to be used. There are moments of great idleness in the electric-power generation system, counterbalanced by high demand moments. This characteristic has induced us to the construction of a model of great generation capacity that remains without use most of the time, producing huge financial and environmental impacts. In this article, we discuss the environmental, financial and energy viability of using the idle capacity of the electric-power system to, through water steam electrolysis, produce hydrogen, which would be reconverted into electric power in peak moments by a fuel cell. In this study, we aim at investigating the viability of associating a SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell), acting as an electrolysis bow, to a generation IV reactor, in order to produce hydrogen from superheated water steam in the cooling of the reactor, which will be converted into electric power via SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell) in peak moments.

The method used in this investigation was to study the electric charge variation consumed in a day, randomly selected in relation to the hour of the day, to launch a curve into a diagram ‘Demand x hour of the day’, to establish the peak moments, the minimum moments, and the average consumption, and, based on these data and geometrically, predict the viability of using the energetic potential of the moments in which the curve is below the average straight line to compensate the system in the moments in which the curve is above the average, putting it closer to a certain baseline. With these data, we aim at finding out in which level the baseline will stabilize when the energetic losses resulting from the conversions are integrated to the study.

As partial conclusion, we have observed that this option would be viable in a universe in which the Second Law of Thermodynamics would not be valid. The never ending of the conversions between energies took the baseline line very close to the maximum point of the original curve, making its adoption, in the energetic point of view, not viable. However, the hydrogen is an input of greater added value than the electric power. As conclusion, we have observed that the technology of using the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC), operating as an electrolysis bow associated to a nuclear reactor, shows itself as promising to the production of this important energetic vector that can be addressed to other movable or portable applications.


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“Environmental, financial and energy feasibility of the electrolysis of the water steam of a generation IV reactor cooling system during the moments of low consumption of electrical energy: challenges and perspectives”

Eduardo Stefanelli

Engenheiro por profissão, professor por vocação