Production Possibilities of a Sustainable Coal, Wind, and Small Modular Reactor Hybrid Energy System


The availability of inexpensive electricity is one of the most significant factors for improving quality of life. With the debate on the effects of carbon dioxide emissions continuing, several countries either have implemented or are considering the reduction of emissions through various economic means. The inclusion of a monetary penalty on carbon emissions would increase the prices of electricity produced by carbon-based sources. The push for large-scale renewable sources of energy has met problems with regards to energy storage and availability. The proposed coal, wind, and nuclear hybrid energy system would combine a renewable energy source, wind, with traditional and stable energy sources, coal and nuclear, to create an integrated and sustainable system. Instead of a light water reactor, a next generation small modular nuclear reactor was evaluated. The coal system utilizes a pressurized circulating fluidized bed system, which can take not only coal but also biomass as a carbon feedstock. This system also employs a high temperature steam co-electrolysis unit for the utilization of carbon dioxide emissions for the production of synthetic gas which can be used in the production of transportation fuels or chemicals. A rigorous dynamic process model was used to simulate the potential output of the system based on real world dynamic data. System inputs included a full year of dynamic wind speeds for variable power generation and simulated electrical grid demand. These inputs varied the amount of power available for synthetic gas production, and thus, theoretical production possibilities for the hybrid system over a year of operation were formed. This information was used to determine overall process economics by comparison to a conventional coal system by using the sale of synthetic gas and levelized cost of electricity. It was determined that a syngas sale price as low as $0.33 per 1000 SCF allowed for specific hybrid systems to be competitive with conventional technologies.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Keywords and Phrases

Gasification; Carbon capture; Integrated gasification

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0887-0624; 1520-5029

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2018 American Chemical Society (ACS), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2018