The project, entitled ‘Development and Demonstration of a Concept for an Economically Optimised IES’, will be completed in two phases. Additional research participants include Idaho National Laboratory, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), Fuel Cell Energy, FPoliSolutions, and GSE Solutions.

NuScale believes its flexible SMR technology holds the potential to balance and stabilise power grids dominated by renewable energies through hydrogen production.

Its NuScale Power Module™ (NPM) pressurised water reactor can generate 77MW of electricity (MWe) and can be scaled to meet customer needs, while its 12-module VOYGR™-12 power plant is capable of generating 924 MWe. NuScale also offers four-module VOYGR-4 (308 MWe) and six-module VOYGR-6 (462 MWe) power plants, as well as other configurations based on customer needs.

Energy markets present reliability concerns at times when energy demand is high and renewable energy production is low. In these markets, hydrogen would be used as an end-product or as a stored energy source to be processed through a Reversible Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (RSOFC) for electricity generation.

John Hopkins, NuScale Power President and CEO, said, “Hydrogen has been identified as a pathway for global decarbonisation and NuScale’s SMR technology complements this goal through low carbon hydrogen production.”

A NuScale control room simulator will be modified to evaluate the dynamics of the IES and will include models for the Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC) system for hydrogen production, in addition to a RSOFC for electricity production.

The research will consider the number of NuScale Power Modules™ needed for use in SOEC hydrogen production and the quantity of hydrogen stored for subsequent electricity production.

Local economic factors from the UAMPS Carbon Free Power Project will be assessed, such as the impact in the Western Energy Imbalance Market, resource adequacy programs, and other local market factors to be defined.

Dirk Smit, Vice President of Research Strategy at Shell, said the collaboration is in line with its efforts to explore technologies that have the potential to enable decarbonisation and support the energy transition.