For 60 minutes in January 2023, a power plant like no other existed in the U.S. Mountain West. It contained a solar array, lithium-ion battery, hydrogen electrolyzers, and a nuclear reactor, all coordinating to provide reliable power. Even more unusual, the plant combined actual and simulated technologies hundreds of miles apart.
This unique power plant was part of a national research and development project to remotely connect energy assets in real-time using the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Sciences Network (ESnet). By linking capabilities at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the researchers created a collaborative “SuperLab” allowing them to study energy systems currently not in existence. In this case, they demonstrated that renewable and nuclear energy, combined within a hybrid system, can complement each other well to support the grid.
“Integrating nuclear assets deployed at INL and connecting them with renewable energy assets at NREL showcases the power of energy hybridization technology and underscores the importance of connectivity in achieving sustainable energy solutions,” said Rob Hovsapian, ARIES research lead in hybrid energy systems at NREL. “Innovation without implementation is merely an idea, but at-scale validation is the bridge that makes ideas a reality. The Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) platform at NREL is the engine that powers this evolution, connecting multiple assets and de-risking complex energy systems for faster adoption of novel clean energy technologies,” Hovsapian said.
Read more about this powerful research project.