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Techno-economic Analysis of Direct Air Carbon Capture and Hydrogen Production Integrated with a Small Modular Reactor


This study aims to explore the techno-economic potential of harnessing waste heat from a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) to fuel Direct Air Carbon Capture (DACC) and High Temperature Steam Electrolysis (HTSE) technologies. The proposed system’s material flows, and energy demands are modelled via the ASPEN Plus v12.1 where results are utilised to provide estimates of the Levelised Cost of DACC (LCOD) and Levelised Cost of Hydrogen (LCOH). The majority of thermal energy and electrical utilities are assumed to be supplied directly by the SMR. A sensitivity analysis is then performed to investigate the effects of core operational parameters of the system. Key results indicate levelised costs of 4.66 $/kgH2 at energy demands of 34.37 kWh/kgH2 and 0.02 kWh/kgH2 thermal for HTSE hydrogen production, and 124.15 $/tCO2 at energy demands of 31.67 kWh/tCO2 and 126.33 kWh/tCO2 thermal for carbon capture; parameters with most impact on levelised costs are air intake and steam feed for LCOD and LCOH, respectively. Both levelised costs, i.e., LCOD and LCOH would decrease with the production scale. The study implies that an integrated system of DACC and HTSE provided the best cost-benefit results, however, the cost-benefit analysis is heavily subjective to geography, politics, and grid demand.

Funding source: This research was delivered with financial support from the UK Research Council (UKRI) for a project entitled “Zero-Carbon Emission Integrated Cooling, Heating and Power (ICHP) Networks” (EP/ T022949/1).
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: United Kingdom

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