Climate change is an energy problem. We only have 28 years to replace fossil fuels and double our overall energy supply. Our programs could accelerate the reduction of global carbon emissions by repurposing trillions of dollars of existing infrastructure to supply clean, affordable, and reliable energy to billions of people. As you reflect on our 2021 Annual Review, we hope you will be as energized as we are by our success in mobilizing a broad coalition of public and private sector leaders and building momentum for innovative climate solutions.
TerraPraxis Climate Solution Profile
The TerraPraxis ‘Repowering Coal’ system is a fast, low-cost repeatable strategy to repower hundreds of existing coal plants that would otherwise continue to burn coal, and whose closure is likely to encounter fierce political resistance and cause economic harm to communities. This initiative is designed for radical cost reduction to enable production of reliable, competitive, clean energy, rapidly repowering the 2TW global coal fleet and cutting carbon emissions by 40%. The repowering system transforms coal plants into flexible clean generators, making them better partners for renewables on the grid.
TerraPraxis Climate Solution Profile
In September 2020, TerraPraxis and LucidCatalyst published the Missing Link to a Livable Climate report. This brief contains its main findings, key messages, and interesting facts on how we can still meet the Paris Goals with proven, ready technology and with no major investments.
How Hydrogen-Enabled Synthetic Fuels Can Help Deliver The Paris Goals
Our report shows that it’s not too late to still meet the Paris goals — but only if we are prepared to make major investments in clean hydrogen production. There is simply no other way to make the numbers add up — this truly is the missing link we need to maintain a livable climate on this planet.
This excellent report skilfully shows how nuclear energy helps meet all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. No other electricity generation technology can match this diversity of beneficial impacts... The NNWI strongly endorses “Beautiful Nuclear: Driving Deep Decarbonisation”. - Tim Yeo, Chair, The New Nuclear Watch Institute and former Chair of the UK Environment Select Committee
TerraPraxis staff have worked on the following publications through their affiliations with other organisations.
Nuclear's new role
US climate change not-for-profit TerraPraxis has proposed repowering 5,000 to 7,000 coal plants globally with SMRs between 2030 and 2050. Whether replacing coal in power plants or supplying industrial processes, SMR reactors have the potential to be installed in a packaged fashion based on standardized designs and processes. This should mean they can be deployed more quickly and with greater certainty over the likes of outcomes, costs and regulatory approvals than nuclear power has to date.
Repowering coal plant infrastructure with clean heat sources such as nuclear and geothermal energy is crucial if we want to reach the Paris Goals of Net Zero by 2050. Luckily, several colleagues and organzations are now doing very through analysis to turn this into a reality. This article, written by our colleagues from QuantifiedCarbon (QCL) proposes and analyzes a solution that will enable the flexibility of electricity production of new nuclear energy while avoiding the stranding of existing fossil fuel assets and local job losses.
Nuclear Energy in the Hydrogen Economy
The NICE Future initiative published a digest which showcases examples of leading nuclear produced hydrogen initiatives which can be used to power hard-to-electrify sectors such as transport and heavy industry. Eric Ingersoll and Kirsty Gogan were honoured to contribute both a Foreword and a chapter.
Read this if you want to get a quick and realistic understanding of how SMRs could be a game-changer. This new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), available as a pre-print, is the secretariats' view on SMRs. It talks about three major areas (1) Understanding SMRs (2) What will it take to make SMRs a success and (3) What's next for SMRs. The last chapter provides a comprehensive list of IAEA activities to support the SMR deployment.
Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Supply Chain
This DOE study estimates potential savings for coal plant owners, and benefits for regions: “To replace a large coal plant, nuclear overnight costs of capital could decrease by 15%-35% when compared to greenfield construction, through the reuse of infrastructure. This aligns with TerraPraxis estimates: “Converting plants to run on AMRs will deliver capital cost saving of 28%-35% (compared with new nuclear plant) and 9%-28% reduction in levelized cost of energy.” (WNN, 2022a). This is also consistent with analysis based on Kairos Power SMR design (Bartela et al., 2021), and C2N#3 approach.
IEA's report examines how nuclear energy can help address the crises of energy and climate. The study team acknowledges benefitting from TerraPraxis' work: “the replacement of coal-fired plants with SMRs, such as that of TerraPraxis which aims to prepare standardised and pre-licensed designs supported by automated project development and design tools.” “In today’s context of global energy crisis, skyrocketing fossil fuel prices, energy security challenges, and ambitious climate commitments, I believe nuclear power has a unique opportunity to stage a comeback,” said IEA's head Fatih Birol.
The Global Debate
IAEA Director General and leading experts discuss current issues in nuclear energy in this new book by the IAEA. Our Missing Link report (Missing Link to a Livable Climate: How Hydrogen-Enabled Synthetic Fuels Can Help Deliver Paris Goals) is referenced and discussed in Chapter 6 "The Challenge of Climate Change—Complete Energy Transformation: No Nuclear, No Net Zero," by Tim Stone, and also in Chapter 13 "The Humanitarian Atom: The Role of Nuclear Power in Addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals," by Sam Bilbao Y Leon and John Lindberg.
A Plan to Accelerate California’s Clean Energy Transition
TerraPraxis informs a report published by Clean Air Task Force & Environmental Defense Fund.
TerraPraxis informs a report published by LucidCatalyst & ClearPath. TerraPraxis colleagues John Herter and Ian Woodhouse conducted transmission and interconnection queue analysis for this report.
Policymakers of many countries, even those that have taken a more passive approach toward decarbonization, have started to define the dates by which their countries will completely abandon coal as an energy source. On 25 September 2020 Poland decided that it will close its coal plants by 2049, exploring viable techno-economic solutions that meet this policy objective is key to achieving its goals and mission. This paper by our colleagues from QuantifiedCarbon (QCL) studied the retrofit decarbonization of coal units using a low-carbon heat source to an existing brownfield coal site.
A Vision for Zero-Carbon Energy "Everywhere"
Superhot rock (SHR) has been called the “holy grail” of geothermal energy—because, in most of the world, SHR could provide competitive, zero-carbon, dispatchable power and support zero-carbon hydrogen fuel production. It is one of the very few high-energy-density, zero-carbon resources that could replace fossil energy around the globe. With significant private and public investment, SHR could plausibly be commercialized within 10-15 years. John Herter and Eric Ingersoll of TerraPraxis contributed to this important Clean Air Task Force (CATF) report.
Aurora Energy Research and Urenco
Urenco published the findings from an independent study that it initiated with Aurora Energy Research to investigate the benefits of deploying both nuclear and renewables in hydrogen production, to support the energy transition and meet UK climate targets. To facilitate rapid decarbonisation and cut dependency on fossil fuels, both nuclear and renewables are needed for power and hydrogen production. The report was supported by the IAEA, EDF and LucidCatalyst.
De-Risking, De-Scoping, and Lowering the Cost of Achieving Net Zero
LucidCatalyst published this Insights Report summary version of the the Aurora Energy Research (AER) hydrogen study that concluded that combining nuclear energy and renewables in the UK energy system can eliminate dependence on fossil fuels, lower emissions, and lower the total cost of achieving UK Net Zero. LucidCatalyst was on the project team that informed the full report, available below.
Net Zero 2050
LucidCatalyst contributed to this ground-breaking new modelling report just published by NNL demonstrating the role nuclear can play in delivering the UK’s net zero goals. This is the first time that such diverse, scalable and low-cost applications for nuclear technologies have been fully represented across the whole energy system.
Authors Forsberg and Ingersoll write that the viability of nuclear power ultimately depends on economics. The most important factor is an efficient supply chain, including on-site construction practices. This is the basis for the low capital cost of light water reactors from China and South Korea. The design can significantly affect capital cost through its impact on supply chain. The question is, how can advanced reactors boost revenue and reduce cost?
Extending the life of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant has the potential to help California meet the increasing challenges of climate change by providing clean, safe and reliable electricity, water and hydrogen fuel for Californians, according to this new study by researchers at Stanford University's Precourt Institute for Energy and the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems. TerraPraxis' Chief Scientist, Justin Aborn performed the analysis in and wrote Chapters 3 and 4.
Power sector emissions represent the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and coal-fired power stations are the biggest source of emissions within this sector. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, rapid decarbonization of coal heavy economies is essential. In this study our colleagues from QuantifiedCarbon (QCL) assess the potential of these strategies as options in a broader general strategy, which we call “retrofit decarbonization” of coal power units.
In this article, published in the The Bridge (National Academy of Engineering), authors Eric Ingersoll, Kirsty Gogan, and Giorgio Locatelli describe how the US nuclear sector can shift to standardized products with replicable designs delivered by consistent, experienced suppliers, as demonstrated by experience in other countries.
LucidCatalyst is providing support and staffing for the Flexible Nuclear Campaign led by EFH, EON, and NREL, which is a campaign of the NICE Future Initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial.
Energy Systems Catapult has just released the full technical report from the Energy Technologies Institute Nuclear Cost Drivers (ETI NCD) project by LucidCatalyst. This report demonstrates a credible path for nuclear energy to become a competitive Net Zero solution alongside renewables.
By Eric Ingersoll and Kirsty Gogan, IAEA Bulletin. The Clean Energy Ministerial Flexible Nuclear Campaign we co-founded explores the expanded role that nuclear energy can play in de-risking the energy transition. Here, we describe two opportunities to drive deeper decarbonization with nuclear energy: 1) expand role of nuclear energy in electricity production through a combination of advanced reactors and thermal energy storage to complement renewables in future energy grids; 2) address the use of oil and gas by providing large-scale, low-cost hydrogen produced with nuclear power.
The LucidCatalyst team was honored to be invited to write both the NGO Foreword (with Energy for Humanity and ClearPath Foundation) as well as a dedicated chapter in the report focused on flexible advanced reactors in future energy grids and innovative new hydrogen production facilities.
In 2018 LucidCatalyst led the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) Nuclear Cost Drivers Study (NCD) suggesting that UK nuclear new build has very significant cost and risk reduction potential. The 30% Cost Reduction Working Group therefore commissioned LucidCatalyst to apply the insights gained in the ETI NCD Study to produce this short report.
A new study by LucidCatalyst for the ARPA-E MEITNER program is the first to derive the highest allowable capital cost for advanced reactors across four of the major power markets in the US in 2034. Advanced reactors that cost less than $3,000/kW will be attractive investments, and create the most value for plant owners. The study shows how advanced reactors can complement wind and solar. Together, these technologies drive down costs, reduce emissions, and improve performance in future U.S. electricity grids.
LucidCatalyst and its partners created this report for the European Commission Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, as well as for the international investment and financing community, to help them fairly and robustly evaluate the overall sustainability of nuclear energy as an investment. Our central finding is that nuclear energy is a sustainable energy investment.
Responding to Climate Change and Strengthening Global Security
This report is a culmination of meetings and effort from Partnership for Global Security and the Nuclear Energy Institute under the Global Nexus Initiative. Advanced nuclear reactors, the smaller, flexible, and innovative nuclear technologies of the future, are rising in importance as the global community grapples with the vital challenges of cutting carbon emissions, supporting the global demand for electric power, and ensuring the continued peaceful use of nuclear energy in the 21st century. LucidCatalyst contributed.
A Key Source of Low-Carbon Power
Kirsty Gogan contributed to this report, which focuses on the role of nuclear power in advanced economies and the factors that put nuclear power at risk of future decline. It is shown that without action, nuclear power in advanced economies could fall by two-thirds by 2040. The implications of such a “Nuclear Fade Case” for costs, emissions and electricity security using two World Energy Outlook scenarios – the New Policies Scenario and the Sustainable Development Scenario are examined.
LucidCatalyst created a Stakeholder Engagement Curriculum for newcomer countries on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The workshop aims to provide a basic grounding in the concepts and best practices of stakeholder involvement for a broad variety of participants, drawn from around the globe and across the full range of nuclear activities.
The Need for Urgent Action
The UK’s Nuclear Innovation & Research Advisory Board (Nirab) has recommended that the UK Government should consider investing up to GBP1 billion (USD1.3 billion) between 2021 and 2025 to boost the progress of innovation in the nuclear energy sector.
An Interdisciplinary MIT Study
A fresh look at nuclear, given advances in inherently safer technologies, a sharpened focus on the need to reduce CO2 emissions in the energy sector, and challenges of cost and public perceptions of safety. LucidCatalyst's Eric Ingersoll and Andrew Foss contributed.
This publication from Bryden Wood describes an evidence-based design process and manufacture-led construction approach using standardised and repeatable components that could be replicated as an approach across a range of horizontal infrastructure projects in the transport and utilities sectors.
TerraPraxis is partnering with Bryden Wood to design a standardised design for repowering coal plants.
Advanced nuclear technologies represent a dramatic evolution from conventional reactors in terms of safety and nonproliferation, and the cost estimates from some advanced reactor companies—if accurate—suggest that these technologies could revolutionize the way we think about the cost, availability, and environmental consequences of energy generation. Comparing the cost of future nuclear technologies to current designs (or other generation technologies) requires capturing cost data for advanced nuclear plants in a standardized, comprehensive manner. Using the plant cost accounting framework developed by the Generation IV International Forum, LucidCatalyst and EON created a cost model for this study that includes all potential cost categories for an nth- of-a-kind (NOAK) nuclear plant.
This guide, produced by Sense About Science, and co-authored by a range of experts, is designed to help guide informed decision-making around some of the big questions and concerns about nuclear energy. LucidCatalyst's Kirsty Gogan, a contributor, said: “Our response to climate change today will have far-reaching implications for our children. Our decisions must be based on the best available evidence. We need to go beyond wishful thinking and crunch the numbers properly if we are to succeed globally in making a rapid and meaningful transition from fossil fuels. Robust information and sound analysis are as important as following our hearts.”