Energy production is the largest global economic activity and low-cost energy is the primary driver of economic development. We face the simultaneous challenges of removing the use of fossil fuels whilst supporting the economic ambitions of a global population that will reach 11 billion by 2100. However measured, the challenges and the potential for this technology are enormous.

Dispatchable electricity

Use of electricity will at least double by 2050, from 20% of total energy use now to 40% or more. The increasing use of intermittent renewables will drive a requirement for clean, dispatchable sources to provide power when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining. Large electricity users, such as data centres and other industrial complexes, will seek their own private supplies. The developing world will need localised plants, powering cities rather than whole countries. Thanks to its dispatchable output, scalable size and low costs, the FLEX reactor can meet all of these needs.

Hydrogen production

Clean hydrogen can be produced through low-temperature electrolysis, using clean electricity. New, high temperature processes can do the same, but more efficiently. Hydrogen can be used as a direct substitute for gas, fuelling industrial furnaces, and it could be mixed with gas and used to heat homes. Hydrogen fuel cells will be used for heavy transport. Clean hydrogen is also the feedstock for new synthetic fuels for airplanes, as well as for ammonia as a diesel substitute for shipping. With its high-temperature output, the FLEX reactor is particularly suited for the production of low-cost, clean hydrogen.

Industrial and district heating

Around two thirds of industrial heat use in Europe – in chemical plants, oil refining and paper mills for instance – is below 700°C. Above these temperatures, burning hydrogen instead of gas will be a major part of the solution. In many parts of the world, district heat is a significant market and could be addressed through direct heat supply or the use of waste heat from other processes. With its output temperature of 700°C, the FLEX reactor can deliver the heat that industry and homes need.

Marine propulsion

The shipping industry contributes 8% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, burning dirty bunker oil. There are two routes to decarbonisation: through synthetic fuels such as ammonia, and through the direct use of reactors for propulsion. The FLEX reactor was originally conceived for shipping and could be modified for this purpose. Its scalability, low operational requirements and long refueling cycle make it ideal for this market.

Water desalination

Floating platforms will be attractive for nuclear power too, particularly for desalination. Climate change is increasing desertification and sea-level rise, putting communities in coastal and hot regions under enormous stress. Clean water will be vital, but renewables alone can’t provide it cost-effectively. This is an ideal application for the scalable, reliable, 24 hour a day, clean energy generation of the FLEX reactor can provide.

Learn more about MoltexFLEX

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