Managing the variability of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power has always been a challenge. Many efforts have been made in the past to smooth the transition of renewable energy, like using batteries to fill the gap when renewable energy is not available.
MIT has come up with a much more ambitious idea of clubbing nuclear energy generation with renewable energies to significantly increase the energy production and stop dependence on fossil fuels.
Nuclear power and renewable energies like wind and solar power both have their advantages and disadvantages. They are environmentally-friendly compared to fossil fuel-based energy systems. However, there is a problem with the reliability of both the systems. It’s very hard to ramp the production up and down of nuclear power to meet the varying demand. Renewable energies are highly dependent upon weather conditions and similarly cannot be ramped up or down according to specific needs.
MIT has suggested pairing a nuclear power plant with either an artificial geothermal storage system, a hydrogen production plant or a shale-oil recovery system. The excess power from the nuclear power plant could be diverted to either of these alternative energy solutions, creating a stable hybrid system to balance the disparities between production and demand.
A majority of people don’t like nuclear energy, especially after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 and the more recent 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. But with this possibility, the benefits of nuclear energy could far outweigh its negatives.