Filtration specialist Porvair is to play a role in developing a new method of generating energy that has the potential to transform the nuclear industry – and make a positive contribution to tackling climate change.
The UK-based company has created a range of filtration solutions which will contribute to the development of small modular reactors (SMRs). Some consider SMRs to be a key part of our energy infrastructure in the future. These smaller nuclear generators aim to make affordable, carbon-free nuclear energy a more appealing prospect for both governments and the private sector.
Working as part of a UK/Chinese cooperation, Porvair is assisting in the development of systems associated with the Chinese high temperature gas reactor (HTGR).
The Chinese project will develop a HTGR as part of a new generation of modularised, small reactors (typically below 500 MWe) which can be sited in remote areas to provide domestic or industrial electricity supplies or process heat for industrial operations like salt water desalination, direct iron ore reduction (when coupled with gasification technology) and even hydrogen production.
Porvair’s specific contribution to this project involves design and supply of technology to manage dust issues associated with the carbon-encased balls, which power the HTGR. The company has experience in other high dust nuclear applications, and believes that its approach to engineering solutions to otherwise intractable filtration challenges in the Nuclear Industry across the world, will help to optimise plant safety, performance and economics.
Cleaning filtration systems
As part of the high temperature gas reactor project, Porvair has developed pulse jet, self-cleaning filtration systems to meet the 73 bar operating pressure of the HTGR. The filter operates within the fuel handling system which is an essential system within the HTGR technology.
SMR technology will make nuclear energy a more financially attractive choice for power generation because it is far more cost effective at a local level than traditional large-scale nuclear reactors. It can be located where it is needed and can help to avoid the necessity to develop a national or even transnational grid to distribute energy to remote areas.
In addition, SMRs can be installed in areas where large-scale nuclear plants are not appropriate – making nuclear energy accessible to parts of the world where it has never been practical before.
Carbon dust filtration
Porvair is presenting a paper on its carbon dust filtration experience in the nuclear industry in general and the HTGR in particular and will showcase its full range of solutions for the nuclear industry at the HTR Conference in China this October, where the company will demonstrate that it has the ability to engineer solutions for every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle.
Porvair’s contribution to the wider nuclear industry includes a range of products such as Iodine traps and absorbers, pulsed jet self-cleaning air and gas filtration systems, HEPA pre-filtration systems and caesium capture protection.
In addition, the company produces demisters to take aerosols out of gas and air streams and a variety of other designed-for-purpose filtration and separation packages.