Jumping on the bandwagon: EDF embraces hydrogen and carbon capture in bid to keep Sizewell C relevant
Adding electrolysis and CO2 removal to newbuild nuclear plants is an innovative flexibility hack. But it won’t move the needle on their abysmal economics.
How times change. Secure, baseload generation has been the main selling point of nuclear power for decades: the promise of a reliable source of electricity, generating constantly around the clock, 24/7, has mesmerised UK energy policymakers since the first civil nuclear power station came online in the 1960s.
Today, nuclear power’s cherished inflexibility is turning into a liability. As the world pivots to variable output wind and solar and an increasingly electrified economy, other generation sources must be able to respond to huge supply and demand fluctuations by quickly ramping up and down to match the requirements of the grid.
EDF Energy, the UK arm of French state-controlled utility EDF, can feel the winds of change. The company last week sought partners to add technology for the production of hydrogen and ‘direct air capture’ of carbon dioxide to its 3.2 GW Sizewell C atomic power project in Suffolk, England. This kit would harness some of the considerable excess heat generated b…