European Union supports Glass Model project!February 2, 2016
Germany may have decided to phase out nuclear power, but many countries are still committed to it. An international research consortium coordinated by the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) is developing a system that prevents core melting by continuing to cool the reactor core even if the power supply fails. The same system that protects people from nuclear disasters like the one in Fukushima also makes other power plants more efficient and greener by converting residual heat into electricity and lowering emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. The project has won the support of the European Union, which is providing almost three million euros in funding over the coming three years under the programme “Horizon 2020”.
Professor Brillert explains what the “Supercritical CO2 Heat Removal System”, or sCO2-HeRo, is all about: “The system discharges the decay heat from the reactor core to the atmosphere and utilises part of the energy for its own operation. It is energy self-sufficient and continues working even if the power supply fails. In the event of an accident, this means valuable time is gained for restoring emergency generators and taking other action.”
Technically, the system consists of a so-called “Joule process” with heat exchangers, a compressor and a turbine. The medium used is supercritical carbon dioxide. “In this state, CO2 has the density of a liquid and the viscosity of a gas. This permits extremely compact construction, which saves space and makes the investment manageable,” says Professor Brillert, who is a turbomachinery expert.
The sCO2-Hero-project will initially be developed at the worldwide unique thermal-hydraulic reactor glass model, which is located at the Simulator Center of KSG|GfS in Essen.
The Universities of Duisburg-Essen, Stuttgart and Delft (Netherlands), the Simulator Center and the Centrum Výzkumu Rez and UJV Rez institutes in the Czech Republic are involved in the project.