Molten Salt Reactor nuclear-battery

Bill Gates Launches A Nuclear Ship Battery Partnership

John Konrad
Total Views: 1759
November 2, 2020

A Core-Power Molten Salt Reactor battery. Photo via CorePower

It’s been over sixty years since the first (and last) US-flagged nuclear-powered cargo ship set sail but, if Bill Gates has his way, the ocean may soon be filled with commercial nuclear ships.

The world’s third-richest man has supported nuclear energy since backing the nuclear innovation company Terrapower in 2008. This week the company announced a partnership with Core-Power, a London-based company that’s developing a marine Molten Salt Reactor (m-MSR) type ‘atomic battery’ pack which could power the largest ships and production of green synthetic fuels for smaller ships.

RELATED PRIME VIDEO: Once Upon A Nuclear Ship – Stories of the NS Savannah

The team has submitted its application to the US Dept. of Energy to take part in cost-share risk reduction awards under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Programme to build a proof-of-concept for a medium-scale commercial-grade marine reactor.

We’re pleased to work with such outstanding partners in developing game-changing technology to help transport and industry transition to a clean energy future‘, says Mikal Bøe, CEO of London-based CORE POWER.

Over the next three decades, as many as 60,000 ships must transition from the combustion of fossil fuels to zero-emission propulsion. The UN’s maritime agency IMO has mandated with unanimous approval from 197 countries that shipping must reduce emissions by 50% of the 2008 total, before 2050. This means an actual emission reduction of almost 90%, by 2050. MSR technology being developed by the consortium could achieve that goal, by powering the production of green sustainable fuels for smaller ships and providing onboard electric power for large ships, with zero emissions as standard.

London based Core-Power is working with the world’s leading Advanced Reactor Developers to meet pent-up demand for disruptive energy technology in ocean transportation and beyond. The MSR can be the technology that forms the start of a ‘second atomic era’, where climate change is the main driver of powerful, inexpensive, and safe new energy solutions. The MSR has an economic potential which could be greater than that of oil and gas, providing the sustainable, clean energy the industry needs to move deep into the future without polluting the environment.

According to the company’s website, they have a two-staged plan to deploy Molten Salt Reactor technology aboard ships later this decade:

First stage (2024-2028):

The existing fleet of  smaller ships (40,000+ units) converting to synthetic zero-carbon fuels, produced from terrestrial or floating manufacturing plants powered by m-MSRs;

Ships use current engine technology but switch to zero-carbon fuels to meet strict air-emission targets by 2030;

Second stage (2028 onward):

Next-generation new-building designs of the largest ships can run an m-MSRs as main electric energy source onboard. The m-MSR ‘atomic battery pack’ can power a large ship for life without refueling, with ZERO-EMISSIONS.

These will be larger, faster and cheaper ships creating a brand new competitive advantage for charterers.

‘The implications of the MSR for transport and industry could be transformational, as we seek to build scale-appropriate technology and broad acceptance of modern and durable liquid-fuelled atomic power to shape the future of how we deal with climate change’, Bøe concludes.

RELATED PRIME VIDEO: Once Upon A Nuclear Ship – Stories of the NS Savannah

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