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Role of a Hybrid Energy System Comprising a Small/Medium-Sized Nuclear Reactor and a Biomass Processing Plant in a Scenario with a High Deployment of Onshore Wind Farms

The present article analyses the potential contribution of a hybrid energy system in a scenario with a high deployment of wind farms. The hybrid energy system consists of a small/mediumsized nuclear reactor (SMR), a biomass processing plant and an optional hydrogen production plant. The SMR operates at full power constantly and is able to switch its thermal output to supply steam for electricity generation or to supply the biomass production plant for heat processes. The hybrid energy system management is electricity load following, so the sum of the electricity generated by both the hybrid energy system and the aggregated wind farm tends to meet electricity demand. The hydrogen production plant is considered as an electricity consumer and operates during times of wind power surplus. Wind farm capacities of 100-2000 MW were investigated. For these, the optimal SMR size in the hybrid energy system varies from 200 to 300 MWe. The increase in SMR size is limited due to the maximum heat demand for the biomass processing plant, which is 1033 GWhth annually (expected heat for biomass processing within a radius of 80 km). For a 1000 MW wind farm, the (standard) deviations between wind farm output and demand are reduced by 32 percentage points with the aid of the hybrid energy system without the hydrogen production plant. An additional reduction of 30 percentage points is achieved using the hydrogen plant, but this then has a very low utilisation (15%).