Monday, August 15, 2022

C&EN: Dow looking at small nuclear reactors for plants

In this week's C&EN, this interesting news from Matt Blois: 

In its quest to cut carbon emissions, the chemical giant Dow wants to try something new: using small, modular nuclear reactors to power one of its plants on the US Gulf Coast.

Dow, which in the past has hinted at its interest in nuclear power, says it is partnering on the project with X-energy, a company developing gas-cooled nuclear reactors. Dow hopes that the reactors will be providing process heat and power to one of its facilities by about 2030.

The project would be a first for a manufacturing company, Dow says. The company is also taking an equity stake in X-energy, which expects to commission its first reactors in Washington State by 2027 as part of a US Department of Energy demonstration program.

The initiative is part of a push by Dow and other major companies to reduce carbon emissions in the chemical and plastics sectors. Dow is already planning to use carbon capture to create the world’s first carbon-neutral ethylene cracker, at a site in Alberta. Meanwhile, Clariant and Linde are trying to develop an entirely new method of ethylene production that uses catalysts in an oxidative ethane dehydrogenation process that promises lower carbon emissions.

As someone who considered Fukushima to be the modern death knell for civilian nuclear power, this is pretty interesting to see. Here's hoping nuclear power catches on. 

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