019 Mike Keller, President & CEO of Hybrid Power Technologies

Fire2Fission Podcast
Fire2Fission Podcast
019 Mike Keller, President & CEO of Hybrid Power Technologies

Mike Keller chats with Mark Hinaman about Hybrid Power’s design for an advanced power plant.

Watch the full discussion on Youtube. Follow along with the transcript on Descript.

[00:00:00] Intro: Just because the facts are A, if the narrative is B and everyone believes the narrative, then B is what matters. But it’s our job in our industry to speak up proudly Soberly. And to engage people in this dialogue, those two and a half billion people that are on energy poverty, they need us. America cannot meet this threat alone.

If there is a single country, of course, the world cannot meet it without America that is willing to, we’re gonna need you the next generation to finish the job. Nuclear regulations, we need scientists to design new fuels, focus on net public benefits. We need engineers to invent new technologies for over absurd levels of radiation production entrepreneurs to sell those technologies.

And we’ll march towards this. We need workers to. With High Tech Zero Prosperity for all humankind, diplomats, businessmen, and women and Peace Corps volunteers to help developing nations skip the development transition sources of, in other words, we need you.

[00:01:04] Mark Hinaman: Okay, welcome to another episode of Fire2Fission Podcast. My name’s Mark Hinaman, and today we’ve got Mike Keller. Mike, I didn’t warn you ahead of time, but, we let guests introduce themselves on this podcast. Why don’t you go ahead and give us a 30 second introduction. 

[00:01:19] Mike Keller: Yeah, my name’s Mike Keller.

I’m the President of Hybrid Power Technologies. We are developing an innovative approach to advanced nuclear reactors which we actually own a number of patents on. We’re a small company located in Kansas, and we’ve been working on this for several years. Our, our approach to the advanced reactors is is different than everybody else.

What we actually do is we’re using a gas cooled reactor to drive the the air compressor of a combustion turbine. The upshot of this approach is with a combustion turbine, about half the power is used to compress the air. When you use a nuclear reactor and it’s a gas reactor, you double the output of the combustion tur.

So our approach is actually one of the classic economies of scale, which is to to increase your output and increase your efficiency. And that’s what this, this technology approach actually does. So, with the current advanced combustion turbines, the output of a hybrid is about a thousand megawatts versus roughly around four or 500, just if it was a combustion turbine plant. So the effect of using the advanced reactor to compress the air is significant in, in terms of what it does to the financials. So that is a brief thumbnail sketch of what we’re doing. 

[00:02:47] Mark Hinaman: Perfect. I can’t wait to dig into more of that.

Before we begin, let’s, 

[00:02:51] Mike Keller: yeah. Our approach is actually based on making a com, a combustion turbine a lot better with the reactors, honestly, is kind of long for the ride. So it’s just an entirely different approach than yeah, than all the others. 

[00:03:06] Mark Hinaman: So Mike, before we dive into kinda your technology and your guys’ business, let’s, let’s focus on you and kind of where, where you started.

What’s, what’s your background? How did, how’d you get into this? 

[00:03:15] Mike Keller: I’m been in the energy and power business for over 50 years. I actually graduated in 1972 with a bachelor of science degree in nuclear engineering hang on in the University of Virginia. And. Went to work at Newport, new ship building, dry dock company on working on Navy subs.

And that’s how I started in the nuclear business. I also have a, a degree in mechanical, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. I’m a professional engineer of Kansas and I’ve got an mba. So, about half my career was with nuclear power plants and the last half has been with combustion tur.

So with that kind of background I was able to come up with this approach of marrying nuclear power and a combustion turbine. 

[00:04:03] Mark Hinaman: Gotcha. Yeah. That, that makes sense. When, when you went to school, were you, let’s see, Navy nuke, right? 

[00:04:09] Mike Keller: I, I, Was the University of Virginia, they, they had a nuclear engineering program at the time.

And I was, I’ve always been fascinated with nuclear power ever since I was a kid. So, you know, I’m doing what I want to do. I’ve always wanted to work with nuclear energy and have, 

[00:04:26] Mark Hinaman: yeah, that’s awesome. 

[00:04:28] Mike Keller: I, I, I have also I’ve got a senior reactor operators certificate. So, I’m familiar with running both nuclear plants and I’ve run combustion turbines as well, and managed power plants with big combustion turbines on them.

So, I’ve got a pretty varied background. I’ve been all over the world. So, you know, with that kind of experience, you tend to pick up insights that otherwise you might not, you know, if you’re just siloed in one particular area. 

[00:04:56] Mark Hinaman: So Hybrid Power, you guys are, Working on the turbine side perhaps having separate from the nuclear island or the, the reactor is just one component, but 

[00:05:06] Mike Keller: well, actually we’re working on all of them. The the, okay. The, our approach on the reactor is, again, a little bit different than Sure.

Than what you might otherwise see. It’s actually based on a helium cooled gas the reactor with the graphite core and the the trio fuel we’re using it, but we’re, we’re using a block type fuel with pins in it that hold in the the nuclear material. It’s, 

[00:05:37] Mark Hinaman: is it similar to what X Energy would be using?

[00:05:40] Mike Keller: Nope. Not at all. They’re, they’re actually using the, the approach where they have balls small, kind of look like a billiard ball in the cores consists of thousands of those. This approach is more similar to what the Japanese are doing with their with their graphite eye temperature reactor. But our approach again is it’s simpler.

You know, we looked at the, the the designs that were out there for the high temperature gas reactors, and we felt they were overly complicated. So we have simplified it significantly. You know, my back early background, I, I worked for combustion engineering in the reactor, mechanical design department.

So, I am familiar with the with reactor cores. 

[00:06:29] Mark Hinaman: Gotcha. How, how, how is yours simpler? You’ve got some great literature about your technology. I personally appreciate your website. I’m looking at it now. You’ve got kind of the process flow diagram that simplifies or lays out the system so that someone can interpret it.

But why don’t you just kind of walk us through it. 

[00:06:49] Mike Keller: The reactor, some of the problems you have with, with a big gas reactor, although the output isn’t that bit much, it’s, it is a small reactor, it’s around 630 megawatts, but, but gas reactors are inherently large because they use a graphite moderator. So one of the first problems we we ran into was that the size of the reactor vessel, even at 630 megawatts is large.

It’s like 25 or 24 or 25 feet in diameter. Now at the pressures you’re looking at the wall, all thickness would be around 10 inches. I said, well, that’s not practical. That’s not gonna. So what we ended up doing is we actually employ a vessel inside of a vessel where the high pressure part of it is in a somewhat smaller vessel, but it’s made of a different material.

It’s actually what, what you call a P 91, P 92 series, which is commonly used for With and, and the, with combustion turbine on the combined cycle plants. And the outer material was classic what they used with existing pressurized water reactors. So that was one of the first things we had to resolve because there was no way a vessel that diameter and that thickness, it’s extremely expensive and extremely expensive to forge. So what we actually use is we use plate similar to what you do with submarines actually. So it’s 

[00:08:21] Mark Hinaman: meaning a, a plate of metal. 

[00:08:23] Mike Keller: Yeah. You just bend the plate. You don’t Yeah. And it’s not really forged. It’s, it’s, it’s, and the early water reactors, they were actually plate, they weren’t forged.

The ones they use now, those are forged vessels. You know, the, the plates forged versus a rolled plate. So, the forging process, 

[00:08:42] Mark Hinaman: I assume you’ve got a cap on both ends or one end. Am I thinking about that correctly? 

[00:08:47] Mike Keller: Yeah. The outer vessel is, it has a head on it that’s held down with bowls and then the inner sure inner vessel.

So the upshot of that, The reactor vessel pressure is only a couple hundred PSI pounds per square inch versus the a thousand or so for the inner vessel. But the inner vessel is made of a different material that is is significantly stronger. Gotcha. 

[00:09:13] Mark Hinaman: So I’ll try and paint this picture for the audience cuz I mean, we’re both Masters and mechanical engineering and so it’s perhaps easier for us to conceptualize cause we’ve dealt with this stuff.

But I mean, you said a plate and so that’s literally just a flat sheet of metal. Yeah. You rolled, they’ve, they’ve rolled and you form a cylinder with it. That then you’d typically weld or yeah. You would weld it. And then that, that acts as your container, right. And I mean we, in the industry, we say vessel or reactor vessel or pressure vessel, but it’s just basically the container that houses the reactor, right?

[00:09:52] Mike Keller: Yeah. And there’s an inner container that actually holds the core. So they’ve got two, there’s actually two vessel. The inner vessel is actually to a, a different part of the ASME co code, you know, which you use for pressure vessels. The outer, the, the, the nuclear pressure vessels section three, and ASME code, they have lower allowables than what you use with a fossil plant, which is actually section eight.

So we’re taking advantage of the higher allowables for the inner vessel. Basically to make it smaller and the wall thickness is to reduce the cost. Mm-hmm. I see. So it’s, again, it’s a, you know, we tend to approach things from a practical standpoint, you know, an engineering standpoint. It’s like, well, how can we pull this off and, and actually make it cost effective?

So, you see that, that approach throughout our, our technology, we’ve. Developed a conceptual design for the entire power plant and yeah. Yeah, that, and that’s what, because I’ve been around a long time, I know a lot of stuff on, I mean, sounds a little arrogant perhaps, but when you’re been around a plant for 50 years, you can’t help but learn things.

[00:11:12] Mark Hinaman: Yep, yep. Absolutely. So you’ve got this design for an entire power plant. I, I wanna continue kind of stepping through your design, what’s unique about it but then kind of dig into the practical side of how, how we might utilize it. So designing the whole power plant, start with hot, very hot, high temperature gas reactor, use helium to 

[00:11:36] Mike Keller: now that that high temperature.

From a from an mechanical engineering standpoint, it’s tough to deal with. Yeah. You know, from the temperatures, you know, relative to a combustion turbine, which is firing at around 3000 degrees Fahrenheit the hot gas coming out of the reactor is, is around, I don’t know, 1400 or something like that.

I think it’s 850 C centigrade, but that’s tough to deal with. So, again, we approach it from a practical standpoint and, you know, with a combustion turbine, you can use those very high temperatures, but you’re cooling the materials. So that’s actually what we do with the the piping that goes from the reactor to the gas tur to the For the helium turbine that drives the air compressor for the combustion turbine, which is actually located outside of the containment structure.

Right. So as you march your way through the issues with high temperature gas reactors we tend to take the approach that’s used with combustion turbines, which is cool. The stuff off so you can, so the materials can handle it. 

[00:12:47] Mark Hinaman: Gotcha. Yep. So the nuclear component only acts as about 40% of the plant. Then 

[00:12:55] Mike Keller: it’s about energy-wise, it’s about 40% of it with natural gas or, or some kind of fossil fuel. It, it could actually be hydrogen the other 60%, and that’s actually firing the combustion. 

[00:13:10] Mark Hinaman: Gotcha. And, and then you’ve got a heat exchanger. And walk us through kinda the power block. What, what’s unique about that?

[00:13:21] Mike Keller: Well, we start at the reactor core. We send the hot gas to the helium turbine. That gas is discharged and sent to a heat exchanger. The cycle is based on what they call a brayton cycle. It’s a gas turbine, a closed gas turbine cycle. Now with gas turbines, or in this case a helium turbine at around 800 degrees Sea inlet, the exhaust temperature is actually fairly hot as well.

You know, it’s, it’s a, it’s around 900 degrees fahn. So you have to transport that gas to a heat exchanger, cool it down, and then run it into a co into a helium compressor, which is driven by its own helium turbine. To get the pressure back up. you’ll start at, oh, somewhere around 800 P s I g.

Run it through the helium turbine. And its discharge pressure is a couple hundred P s I G. So, with that kind of setup you, you have relatively high exhaust temperatures on the turbine that you also have to deal with. Now, one of the things we, we also noticed is when you, from a practical standpoint even though it’s a 600 megawatt reactor, the helium.

Gas flow is fairly significant. The upshot of that is the pressure losses, especially across the heat exchange that we’re using, can be relatively high. So the other thing we did is we, we we split into two turbines. One driving the helium compressor and the other helium turbine driving the air compressor.

So that allows us to use. Piping that you can handle, basically. I mean, it’s, that’s yeah. 

[00:15:17] Mark Hinaman: Meaning piping that sign small enough. Yeah. 

[00:15:20] Mike Keller: Yeah. It also allows you to to make the the heat exchanger something more practical. You know, we are using a compact heat exchanger, but even those are, can be relatively large with the gas flows involved.

So we actually use. Two different heat exchangers, again, to make the components easier to manufacture. So the so the upshot is the, the, the gas coming out of the two heat exchangers that you’ve cooled off, you send it to the helium compressor, now you’re cooling off the gas to reduce the power needs of the helium compressor.

So we have a single helium compress. The two inputs from the heat exchangers compresses it and then it sends back, sends the the gas back out to those heat exchangers to be heated back up before it goes into the reactor core where and where the gas is heated up even more. So this is, so, it’s, it’s a classic brighten cycle in the sense that.

It’s a closed system, so you’re in turn is circulating the helium through the system and yeah, adding and subtracting heat to make the cycle more efficient. The reactor, the reactor side efficiency is around 50%. With this kind of setup set up 

[00:16:48] Mark Hinaman: Which is pretty good. Yeah. Some people may not realize they’re like, wait 50 you percent efficient.

That doesn’t sound very good. But when it comes to power and generating power, so does that mean Yeah. 

[00:17:00] Mike Keller: A a, a typical conventional nuclear plant, it’s just around 33% efficient about 

[00:17:06] Mark Hinaman: Yeah. And not just nuclear power plants, right? Thermal plants. 

[00:17:09] Mike Keller: Well, it depends on the power plan. The, the efficiency is directly rated related to the temperatures the highest tempera.

And a conventional nuclear reactor, you’re limited on how hot you can get the water right, and that’s how you end up at really low efficiencies. Now, a combined cycle plant, they’re around 55% efficiency, but they’re also, the firing temperature on a combustion turbine is heading towards 3000 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, That’s why it’s, those types of plants are very efficient cuz they operate at much higher temperatures. You can’t do that with a water reactor. You can do, a gas reactor will get you up there quite away. So you’re not gonna get to 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. But you can get to the point where your reactor site efficiency is, is around 50%.

[00:18:05] Mark Hinaman: So you’ve got the helium loop that is generating power. How much power does it generate or how much heat, heat does it generate? I’ll say, 

[00:18:16] Mike Keller: well, in, in the context of the overall plant, the air compressor, the decoupled air compressor for the combustion turbine needs about 300 megawatts. So the react.

It’s driving that 300 is providing that 300 megawatts for that air compressor, a nuclear reactor being around 630 or so megawatts thermal. Gotcha, 

[00:18:45] Mark Hinaman: gotcha. And so the, you’re generating about 630 megawatts of heat and then you’re using that to spin a turbine that is on the same shaft as the air converter.

[00:18:58] Mike Keller: There’s actually two turbines. One is driving the helium compressor. The other turbine is driving the the, the air compressor. Now, one of the things with, when using helium like this, the character eristics of the gas mean that the helium turbines, helium turbines, and helium compress. They, they require a lot of of blading or stages.

So the, one of the other reasons we, we split the use of a helium turbine driving a helium compressor and a helium turbine driving the air compressor. The speeds of those, those turbines are different. In the case of the helium compressor, we’re running it a much higher rpm. About 5,000 revolutions per minute versus about 3000 revolutions per minute for the air compressor, which is a, a standard sized air compressor for, for combustion turbine.

So the other thing we’re doing is we’re optimizing the efficiency of our rotating machines, depending on its application. Generally you want the higher you pick up, the increase the speed for the heating turbines and compressors, the fewer number of stages. The upshot of that means it makes, its more, it makes it more compact.

You know, if you were to, in, in the past they tried to combine it, all the turbines on a single shaft with the compressor, it gets to be too long and it’s very difficult to deal with something like, It’s so long, you know? Yeah. The rotating forces. 

[00:20:46] Mark Hinaman: Mike, why’d you guys select helium as your power fluid for that?

[00:20:50] Mike Keller: Well, helium is actually the best gas for a gas reactor. It’s inert in our case. It allows you to have a much lower pressure what they call a pressure ratio. The difference between the inlet pressure and the outlet pressure. With helium, it’s around two and a half to three. Pressure different, you know, the pressure ratio, if you were to use say, nitrogen, it’d be around 20.

So, so that would mean your pressures in your, on your reactor would have to be significantly higher. So if, if you’re looking at, and what’s the best gas for a gas reactor, it’s helium for a variety of re reasons. But fundamentally, you don’t have to operate at such high pressures, which makes your wall thicknesses on all your vessels sign significantly lower.

Yeah. And it’s also, it doesn’t corrode anything. It’s in there. 

[00:21:46] Mark Hinaman: So I heard also it doesn’t ionize. 

[00:21:49] Mike Keller: No. No, it doesn’t. It’s just basically a nerd. Nothing doesn’t bother anything. 

[00:21:55] Mark Hinaman: Yep. Yep. Okay. The reactor block, I mean, we’ve kind of stepped through that and we’ll, we’ll put a link to your guys’ website so folks can go on with the technical drawing if they want.

But the reactor block is one component. Talk to us about the power block or the advanced mine cycle. 

[00:22:11] Mike Keller: Well, the, the other thing we’ll do before we get to the power block, we actually use a full containment with the reactor. We don’t use the approach with other gas reactor outfits, where basically if you have a large hole, what they call a loss of coolant, yep.

You blow it into the atmosphere. We don’t do that. We just keep it confined within a containment. You know, our thinking on that was while a containment structure is expensive, all the issues you have to do to try and deal with blowing the reactor coolant, the helium into the atmosphere. We looked at that and just decided it was quagmire.

Just put a classic containment around it. The, the containment. 

[00:23:01] Mark Hinaman: And would that be like concrete dome or, 

[00:23:03] Mike Keller: no, it’s actually a steel structure. The other thing we do is to take the stepping back a little bit on gas cooled reactors, if, if the reactor is relatively small, it’ll cool itself and use a natural off using natural circulation.

In our case, what we actually do is we’ll circulate what’s ever inside the containment. It moves up through, pass the reactor vessel and goes up and there’s a steel shell. And that’s actually. Exchanges heat with the atmosphere. Our, our containments approach is basically what they use with the Westinghouse API 1000 when they have a containment structure, an outer concrete structure to protect the inner steel shell.

And basically the air circulates on the outside through natural convection. You know, it, it comes in, gets heated up, and then goes out the top of the the concrete structure. We do the same. So we we use the reactor containment to take heat out to the atmosphere and with the reactor vessel sending heat into the inside, the circulated by natural ation on the inside of the containment structure.

So the entire system is completely passive. We don’t. It doesn’t require any blowers or anything like that, although we do use ’em, but that’s really more from an operational standpoint. From a safety standpoint, the reactors passively fail safe. It’s not, and the fuel doesn’t melt. This kind of fuel 

[00:24:42] Mark Hinaman: Do. Do you guys have like a model or digital model or physical model that shows kind of a mockup of the system?

[00:24:51] Mike Keller: What we do have drawings that we have. Sure. We, we have you know, as part of the conceptual design work, you know, we do have various drawings. Some of them are confidential. A lot of this stuff we would ordinarily patent and we have, we, we actually have several patents and one we just got in in November.

Getting a patent is pricey. So, so, our approach there, there’s a lot of Innova innovation in this that we would normally just patent, but being a small business, we have limited funds. Sure. The basic we’ve got concept is, is exact. It’s, it’s, it’s what the Westinghouse folks do with the APA 1000, you know, with the internal natural circulation and external natural circulation.

So we felt that that approach was, You know, given the output of the power plant, which is well over a thousand megawatts, you can take the financial hit with a more expensive containment. But on the flip side, it’s absolutely fail, fail safe, and there would be virtually no problem getting it licensed. 

[00:25:59] Mark Hinaman: Let’s pivot to the business a little bit, if that’s okay. So you’re working with this design, but where are you in the process of bringing to fruition engage with the nrc or you need some of the, 

[00:26:14] Mike Keller: they’re aware of build on the power plants or, well, the, the, the fundamental problem we have is a small business, we don’t have a lot of money. You know, we’ve developed a highly innovative technology approach. We’ve patented the technology approach, but we don’t get any help from the government at all. And the reason that happens is the way they’ve, the Department of Energy is set up their their financial assistance, the advanced reactors.

It involves a cost share Now, From a small business standpoint, you know, to develop this further, it’s obviously tens of millions of dollars, which presumably as a small business, you’d have to cough up 20% of that. Well, that’s out of the question that’s financially lethal to any small business. So one of our biggest structure struggles is we don’t get any help from the from the government because it would bankrupt.

So the whole thing is it’s irritating to be quite honest. And I am absolutely certain that there’s a lot of innovation out there that just dies on the vein cuz it doesn’t get any help from the government. And I’m speaking directly to small businesses and that’s actually the backbone of innovation in this country are small businesses and entrepreneurs.

So we, so we don’t have any, we don’t get any help from the federal government. And then we’ve, we’ve suggested that they rethink that policy, but they don’t listen to us because we’re a small business. So it’s it’s quite disheartening at times. You know, this actually stems from the 2006 Energy Act, you know, this cost share issue.

But if you actually read the act, it says the secretary of Energy, he can waive the cost. And we’ve suggested they do that for a general class of small businesses. And we’ve met, been met with crickets basically. So, so I, you know, from a broader strategic standpoint, I think the country is, is being ill served by the Department of Energy’s policies because I’m absolutely certain that there’s innovation out there that will, that could significantly reduce.

And significantly increased safety. But the folks that create that, they don’t get any help from the government. 

[00:28:45] Mark Hinaman: So have, have you guys taken this to the NRC yet then? 

[00:28:49] Mike Keller: They’re aware of it? You know, the licensing process is in itself stupid. Finally expensive. I know the guys that but couldn’t agree more, spent half a billion dollars on license.

Yep. No, that’s an all in income 

[00:29:03] Mark Hinaman: and unnecessarily mean. I don’t think it, I would agree with that. I don’t think it makes it much safer. It probably, as engineers 

[00:29:12] Mike Keller: design and they still have to spend a half billion dollars. It’s like this doesn’t, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. All those costs that it washes through the entire design, construction, and operation and significantly increases those costs as well.

You look at the AP 1000, those guys faced staggering increases in the licensing costs over to what was faced in the seventies and eighties when I worked for combustion engineering. And the AP 1000 is a passively safe design. You just scratch your head and sh and shake your head and stunned disbelief.

[00:29:48] Mark Hinaman: Okay, so what’s the next step for you guys then? 

[00:29:52] Mike Keller: Well, we’re attempting to to move the technology forward, but on a different front, you know, our latest patent is actually, it applies to combined cycle plants or any power plant that has, that uses high temperature. One of the offshoots of of developing our technology is we noticed that as you increase the firing temperatures of a combustion turbine, the exhaust temperature gets hotter.

Now with a combined cycle plant, you use that hot exhaust energy to create steam for a steam turbine. But what was happening and is happening is the temperatures, the exhaust temperatures in order to efficiently use to create steam. Steam turbines can’t handle those kinds of temperatures. They’re limited to around a thousand or so degrees Fahrenheit.

A steam, the conventional steam, some of the more advanced ones get a little hotter, but fundamentally, you have material problems. And you can’t really cool a steam turbine. So what we noticed that, that we, that folks are trying to use a super critical CO2 cycle to deal with the higher temperatures.

And we made the observation that, oh, the super critical CO2 cycles, they’re not really practical when you’re dealing with the massive amounts of heat that comes out of a combustion carbon. It’s, you’ve got problems with the turbines, you’ve got problems with the heat exchangers. So what we observed is, is like, well, instead of trying to make to use all of that exhaust energy from a combustion turbine for the super critical cycle, why don’t you just use a steam cycle to use the heat that it can actually practically.

And use the sup, the super critical CO2 cycle for the higher temperatures. And that’s actually what we were just granted a pat patent for in November. So we are moving forward to see if we can attract some interest and financial interest to move that technology forward to then help us move the hybrid nuclear technology.

We think it’s, it’s because the, it has very wide ranging applications associated with this patent. We think it’s, it’s, it’s ex, it’s very attractive and it will at, we think it will attract the financial interest that’s needed to move the technology forward. And we are actually talking with the guys down at Sandy on that very matter.

As far as the hybrid’s concerned, if we can’t get. Financial assistance, it’s not gonna go anywhere. I mean, it’d be perfectly blunt. So, and, and there’s just no avenue with the Department of Energy. They’re, they’re just not helpful at all. 

[00:32:59] Mark Hinaman: So I’ll say back, you guys have technical expertise and you’ve improved or identified a component of the power cycle that is potentially underdesigned and so you’ve Im improved it.

[00:33:16] Mike Keller: The existing combined cycle plants, they’re basically plateaued out at the efficiencies they’re at right now, because using that steam energy or the exhaust energy, they’re running into a ceiling As far as the steam turbines are concerned.

What our, our approach allows you to add several more percent on the efficiency, and that from a financial standpoint is significant in terms of with the combined cycle plant, your biggest cost is the fuel. So if you can increase the efficiency of your power plant, several percent, it makes a big difference on the bottom line.

So, and, and we, 

[00:33:57] Mark Hinaman: so you’re trying to take, take that design and sell it, basically, right? I mean, that’s the idea. License use those funds. Yeah. License, it’s 

[00:34:06] Mike Keller: come back license. Now we, we have incorporated that technology in, into the hybrid and we’ve also have looked at using the hybrid dec.

Hydrogen, but through steam, electrolysis and needs, use some hydrogen with the combustion turbine. You know, from a combustion turbine standpoint, practically speaking, you can only use about 30% of the fuel as hydrogen. Hydrogen is a very light gas compared to what you normally use, which is met. So it’s really not practical to, to run a combustion turbine on nothing but hydrogen.

It also requires stupifying amounts of hydrogen, and presumably, yeah, you would get that from excess renewable energy and you know, generate hydrogen and run the combustion turbine. But when you run the financials on that and look at the practic. Aspects. It’s like, well, that’s really not gonna work. You can use some hydrogen with a combustion turbine, but you can’t run the thing from a practical standpoint with nothing but hydrogen physically.

Yeah, you could, you could probably make it work, but 

[00:35:20] Mark Hinaman: I think it’s interesting. We’re we’re, we’re both engineers and we’ve both turned the math on this several times. And I mean, other engineers can have different opinions, but we, we think the challenge of dealing with nuclear is easier than the challenge of hydrogen, which I think says something about, yeah.


[00:35:38] Mike Keller: I think two fuel sources and I think you’re seeing a lot of marketing activities with hydrogen that are decoupled from reality. They’d be perfectly blunt 

[00:35:46] Mark Hinaman: Definitely. A hundred percent. Well, Mike, we’re, we’re kind of running out on of time here. We’ll have to start wrapping up.

So, what what, what gives you hope? 

[00:35:57] Mike Keller: Well, I’m tenacious and nothing else. We keep marching along. We’re furthering the design. We’re putting together a package, a technical package for the concept design. I mean, we have all this information. We’re just gonna consolidate it into a single document. 

We’ve actually also written a book that’s been published, hybrid nuclear energy systems. It actually goes into all aspects of energy. It is published by the academic press, which is part of Elseveir. It’s actually a pretty good textbook book for anybody cuz we take a broad look at all energy production and basically rank them including the hybrid. So it gives a simple explanation of a lot of this stuff. And then it will also go into detail at the end of the chapters.

It does go into detail. So it’s it’s a useful book. For those, trying to get up to speed on energy production in general and the specifics of energy generation, both from a, you know, from an environmental, financial and technical standpoint. And we also take a look at the licensing of reactors.

[00:37:07] Mark Hinaman: Got it. Okay. Well, Mike, I really appreciate the time. Thank, thanks so much for chatting with us. 

[00:37:13] Mike Keller: Okay. Well take care.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top