What are Integrated Energy Systems?

Power plants exist to make electricity, but must 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 with carbon capture), 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). Focusing IES development on enhanced utilization of low- or non-emitting energy generation options within IES will help the U.S. to achieve the bold goals that have been established by the Biden administration to achieve a 100% clean energy economy (link) and net-zero emissions by 2050 (link​).

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342 x 44349 KB 10/16/2020 1:44 PMIES 2020 Roadmap
372 x 48152 KB 2/28/2022 1:03 PMProduction Feasability
Thermal Energy Distribution System (TEDS) Startup.png
2559 x 3311346 KB 2/28/2022 1:01 PMThermal Energy Distribtuion System (TEDS) Startup

Other OpportunitiesINL is hosting a new capability overview and training session for its modeling and simulation FORCE toll suite. REGISTER NOW!https://ies.inl.gov/SitePages/FORCE%20training%202023.aspxTraining dates: April 4, 5 & 6, 20231/19/2023 9:24 AM
https://ies.inl.gov/SitePages/FORCE_2022.aspx6/24/2022 11:28 AMYes
https://www.nice-future.org/featured-publications.html2/28/2022 11:36 AMYes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JB9G5U_yJk1/11/2021 8:14 AMYes
https://ies.inl.gov/Shared%20Documents/Fact%20Sheets/DETAIL%20overview.pdf6/11/2020 7:48 AMYes
https://ies.inl.gov/Shared%20Documents/Fact%20Sheets/IES%20Overview.pdf6/11/2020 7:47 AMYes

​Following last year’s successful virtual summit, the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) will host national laboratories from around the world in London during the ‘Integrated Energy Systems Summit 2023’ from 17-19 January, as part of a collaboration to advance the deployment of integrated energy systems.


​"It all comes down to one benefit and that's carbon emission reduction," said TJ Morton, a fluid systems design engineer at INL. "So allowing a nuclear power plant to stay cost-effective is sort of a side benefit. But you know, really reducing our carbon footprint from industrial and commercial processes. ​

Idaho National Laboratory leading the way for nuclear energy11/15/2022

​Using nuclear power to generate hydrogen gas is one route to being able to store energy to power trucks, factories, and other difficult-to-decarbonize sectors of the economy.​​

Global nuclear hydrogen group forms7/26/2022

​“Nuclear technologies have the potential to produce hydrogen in a clean, efficient manner, and at the potential scale required to drive decarbonization in hard-to-abate energy sectors without the space constraints of other means of hydrogen production,” says the Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative (NHI).​

Take the nuclear option for low-cost, 24/7 clean-hydrogen production, says new global coalition7/26/2022

Far from Earth, whether in the void or on another world, power is life. A steady, strong flow of electricity is as crucial for operating computers and engines as it is for assuring access to corporeal necessities such as light and heat, breathable air and potable water, and preparation or even growth of food. 

NASA’s ‘Nuclear Option’ May Be Crucial for Getting Humans to Mars1/27/2022
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