Lisa Rass interviews Götz Ruprecht to discover his vision for the future of nuclear power.
Dr Götz Ruprecht is CEO of Dual Fluid. Here, we get his insights on the advantages of his reactor technology and how he thinks this technology will evolve in the coming years.
Your company slogan is “We are reinventing nuclear” – why and what for?
“We are reinventing nuclear power because it offers tremendous opportunities. Current nuclear technology does not properly exploit the potential of uranium as a fuel: today’s reactors convert only 3-5% of the fuel into electricity, the rest has to be disposed of. We are developing a completely new type of nuclear fission based on liquid metal fuel and liquid lead coolant. This will allow us, for the first time, to fully exploit the power of the ultra-dense uranium fuel and exponentially increase the performance of nuclear power. The very high operating temperatures of 1,000°C – an absolutely unique feature – allow a wide range of interesting applications. For example, the production of hydrogen from water through high-temperature process chemistry – an attractive prospect for meeting the growing demand for hydrogen in a cost-effective, environmentally friendly way.”
What is the advantage of high-temperature process chemistry?
“The advantage is clearly price: the higher the temperature, the more efficient and cheaper the process. By way of comparison, emission-free hydrogen from wind energy costs 6-8 US cents per megajoule to produce today. Conventional hydrogen from methane steam reforming is much cheaper at 1.3 to 1.8 US cents. This is about the price at which emission-free hydrogen could be produced using the smallest Dual Fluid reactor of 300MW electrical power. Larger models would allow further significant cost reductions. Another interesting application is the production of emission-free synthetic fuels that can power common combustion engines. In this way, the uncomplicated decarbonisation of the transport sector would be possible.
Which fuel does the reactor use?
‘It is a fast reactor that can use any fissionable material as fuel – uranium, thorium or reprocessed nuclear waste. This makes our technology particularly interesting for countries that already have an inventory of spent fuel. In fact, what we call “nuclear waste” is a valuable resource that, with the right technology, can be used very profitably.”
Where are you in the development of your reactor?
“After a decade of detailed preparation and improving the concept in theory, we are now going to build our first reactor – a demonstration reactor as proof of concept. It will demonstrate the fundamentally new operating principle for the first time in reality by the middle of the decade. A partnership with Rwanda, which is providing the site, offers us ideal conditions for this. We are just raising funds for this important step. The prototype of the first 300MW power reactor should be up and running by the end of the decade, with series production starting a few years later.”
Which investors are you addressing?
“We are addressing major investors interested in pragmatic and viable energy solutions. Our product offers trailblazing advantages to a global market. We are offering the chance to grow with us and serve this market.”
Lisa Rass is with Dual Fluid.