Master of Engineering Science
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Many off-grid communities in Canada rely on diesel generators for their electricity needs. This is not only expensive but also produces significant greenhouse gas emissions. Small modular reactors (SMRs) have been proposed to replace diesel generators and can be combined with photovoltaic (PV) sources to form a microgrid. However, fluctuations in loads and PV create challenges for SMRs. Integrating a thermal energy storage (TES) system with the SMR can increase the flexibility of the power system to operate more effectively. This thesis first examines methodologies to determine suitable configurations of such a microgrid. Through analysis of the system components and the patterns of PV and demand, techniques for component sizing and operational modes of the combined SMR and TES system are developed. A case study has demonstrated the SMR size can be reduced when integrating TES so that the overall microgrid can operate more effectively and improve the SMR economics.
Summary for Lay Audience
The Canadian electrical grid provides reliable electricity to cities and most communities across the country. However, there are nearly 300 off-grid communities far from the electrical grid that must produce their own electricity. Many off-grid communities currently provide their own electrical supply using diesel generators that produce significant greenhouse gas emissions, which is harmful to people and the environment. A goal is to reduce emissions by replacing diesel generators with small modular nuclear reactors and adding renewable energy resources, including solar power. Small modular nuclear reactors have been proposed to complement solar power to meet the needs of off-grid communities. However, these small modular nuclear reactors can have issues complementing solar power and can have high installation costs. The thesis investigates adding heat storage with the nuclear reactor to address these issues. A significant problem to address is how to determine the appropriate sizing of the system components. Characteristics of the electrical demand and renewable resource profiles must be analyzed to determine appropriate sizing for the small modular nuclear reactors, renewable resources, and storage devices. Through a case study of a benchmark community, this work has demonstrated that the power rating of the nuclear reactor can be reduced when integrating heat storage. This can allow the overall system to operate more effectively and can made the small nuclear reactor more cost effective.
Davis, Michael W. C., "Configuration and Sizing of Small Modular Reactor with Thermal Energy Storage within a Microgrid for Off-grid Communities" (2022). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8830.
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Available for download on Wednesday, August 23, 2023