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Ammonia bunker fuel from nuclear power ‘cost competitive’ with VLSFO and carbon taxes

14 Jul 2022

UK-based maritime and technology innovation company CORE POWER on Wednesday (13 July) demonstrated a single installation of a floating nuclear power plant design could produce 100% green ammonia, at a cost that could compete with low sulphur bunker fuel and carbon taxes.

The floating nuclear power plant design is combined with an “ammonia refinery” at either end of green corridors, which are being proposed in the Clydebank declaration, signed at COP26 at the end of last year.

“Making green ammonia from 100% clean hydrogen and nitrogen is very energy intensive and requires reliable low-cost electricity, and production of fuels must happen where we need it and when we need it,” said Dr Rory Megginson, head of Analytics at CORE POWER in London.

During the launch event of CORE POWER’s Client Programme on 13 July, the company demonstrated how a single installation in the US Gulf could produce 1.3 million metric tonnes (mt) of 100% green ammonia, at a cost that could compete with low sulphur bunker fuel and carbon taxes. The firm is pioneering the work of developing the market for marine-appropriate new nuclear technology.

“Placing a floating refinery at either end of a “green corridor”, in the US Gulf and UK Continent would provide a reliable, low-cost fuel supply to all ships trading on that route and have plenty of green hydrogen-based fuel left over for supply to the inland and coastal markets,” said Dr Megginson.

The CORE POWER design features a cylindrical “spar type” hull of 90 metres in diameter fitted with four molten salt reactors, producing 1,200 MW of electricity round the clock, whatever the weather.

“The key advantage of the molten salt reactor for this purpose is that we can top up the fuel at full power, so we don’t have to stop to refuel, and that means we can run for a very long time at max capacity,” said Giulio Gennaro, Chief Technical Officer of CORE POWER.

“The MSR is an ambient pressure reactor which cannot pollute the environment in the event of a mishap or an accident, and that’s popular. The lack of pressure also means the emergency planning zone around the installation should be confined to the boundary of the ‘site’ or the hull itself,” said Gennaro.

Showing how a reliable power solution could be built in the coming decade, CORE POWER also demonstrated how offshore wind can feed power to the system when conditions are right.

“Combining the output of intermittent offshore wind with reliable floating nuclear means the billions spent on renewables can live up to its promise and shake its heavy dependence on fossil fuels on still or stormy days,” concludes Megginson.


Photo credit: Shaah Shahidh on Unsplash
Published: 14 July, 2022

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