What are Integrated Energy Systems?

Power plants exist to make electricity, but most also produce a lot of heat. What if they could use that heat for other processes that require thermal energy? Today, roughly 40% of all energy is wasted. More efficient energy use would be better for the environment and for the plant owner. A power plant being used for both electricity and heat is called an integrated energy system. Integrated energy systems could couple nuclear, renewable and fossil energy sources. Such systems offer efficiencies that can lead to energy independence, economic competitiveness, job creation and smarter use of resources.

What are national labs doing?

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy supports a national laboratory Integrated Energy Systems (IES) Program. The program conducts research, development and deployment activities to expand the role of nuclear energy beyond supporting the electricity grid. Expanded roles include supplying energy to various industrial, transportation and energy storage applications. Development of integrated energy systems may include multiple energy inputs (e.g., nuclear, renewable, and fossil), multiple energy users (e.g., grid consumers, industrial heat or electricity users, transportation fuel users), and multiple energy storage options (e.g., thermal, electrical and chemical).

Recent Technical Reports

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372 x 481312 KB 10/16/2020 1:48 PMCase Study: Integrated Nuclear-Driven Water Desalination— Providing Regional Potable Water in Arizona
372 x 48149 KB 10/14/2020 3:30 PMFlexible Nuclear Energy for Clean Energy Systems
342 x 44349 KB 10/16/2020 1:44 PMIES 2020 Roadmap
372 x 48152 KB 10/16/2020 1:48 PMProduction Feasability


Future novel hybrid energy systems could lead to paradigm shifts in clean energy production, according to a paper published last week in Joule.

Tri-Lab Initiative12/9/2020

​NuScale Power today announced updated evaluations for the technical feasibility and economics of producing hydrogen using heat and electricity from a NuScale Power Module as a result of the recent announcem​ent that an NPM can generate an additional 25 percent more power per module for a total of 250 MWt per module. ​

NuScale Power Releases Updated Evaluation for 77 MWe Module Clean Hydrogen Production12/9/2020

​Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s three applied energy laboratories — Idaho National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the National Energy Technology Laboratory — co‑authored the paper describing such integrated energy systems.​​​​​

TRI-Lab Initiative Leads Innovation in Novel Hybrid Energy Systems12/9/2020

​The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded just under $14 million for an attempt to build a hydrogen-energy production facility at a nuclear power plant in Minnesota with the help of a nuclear research lab in Idaho.

Regional Idaho nuclear lab partnering with utility to produce hydrogen11/11/2020

​More than $10 million in federal funding will help a Minnesota nuclear power plant make hydrogen in a way that could transform the nuclear energy industry.

Private-Public Partnership will use Nuclear Energy for Clean Hydrogen Production11/9/2020
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Virtual Conference2/8/2021
The Conference on Nuclear Training and Education: A Biennial International Forum (CONTE 2021) has an emphasis on the future of the nuclear industry and is aimed at training, education and workforce development.
Conference on Nuclear Training and Education: A Biennial International Forum (CONTE 2021)
Raleigh, NC4/11/2021
M&C 2021
M&C 2021
Yogyakarta Indonesia6/2/2021
​The International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology is the sole international conference focusing on high-temperature gas-cooled reactors and process heat application technology. 
International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology
Marco Island, FL8/8/2021
Utility Working Conference and Vendor Technology Expo
Utility Working Conference and Vendor Technology Expo