National need for utilizing nuclear energy for process heat generation Page: 2 of 8
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2. FOSSIL FUEL USE IN THE UNITED STATES
Table I summarizes the 1983 energ; consumption in
the United States by sector and by fuel source; as
shown, of the total energy consumption of 74.5
exajoules, the non-electric energy consumption by the
industrial sector was 17.8 eAjoules (approximately
24% of the total), and the non-electric energy
consumption by the commercial and/or residential
sector was 10.2 exajoules (about 14% of the total).
This non-electric energy for the two sectors combined
was provided almost entirely by the burning of fossil
fuels, with oil and natural gas providing 90% and coal
10%. In the industrial sector alone, 15.2 exajoules
were provided by burning oil and gas. A significant
opportunity for the saving of oil and gas by
substitution with nuclear process heat appears to
exist in the above secotra, with the largest potential
being in the industrial sector. This is discussed
The industrial sector includes the industries
associated with agriculture, mining, construction, and
manufacturing. Of these, and based on extrapolation
of past analyses,(2,3,4) the manufacturing industries
consume about 80% of tba industrial sector energy
consumption, with the major manufacturers (from a
process heat consumption viewpoint) being the paper,
chemicals, petroleum refining, primary metals, and the
stone, clay, glass and concrete industries. These
five industries account for about 2/3 of the process
heat consumed in the industrial sector, with the
chemicals, petroleum refining, and primary metals
industries accounting for about 55% of the industrial
sector. Process steam applications within these
industries involve process temperatures from about
380C (100*F) up to about 26U0C (50UUF). Although
steam is often generated at temperatures above 26U0C,
the high temperature/high pressure steam is generally
used for electrical power generation first and then
extracted from steam-electric turbines for process
heat applications at lower pressures (cogeneration).
Such cogeneration is not included below in the
consideration of process energy.
The profile of the process heat energy market is
not easily characterized and detailed data which give
a clear picture are sparse. A profile for steam and
direct heat use based on 1977 data is given in Table
2.(3,4) The data cover manufacturing process energy
requirements for 249 utility districts. More recent
data would lead to different totals, but are less
likely to affect the distribution. The industrial
sector total of coal, natural gas, and oil use in 1977
was 23.0 exajoules compared with 17.8 exajoules in
1983. Thus, the totals in Table 2 might be adjusted
downward proportionately; however, the use of nuclear
process heat would not come into being in a major way
before the year 2009, and some growth in process heat
use would be expected in a growing economy. Also,
Table 2 does not consider all process heat markets in
the United States, although it does cover the major
ones. Further, there is significant potential for
cogeneration of electricity which is not included in
Table 2. At the same time, cogeneration is a "soft"
market from an "industrial" viewpoint (not from a
"utility" viewpoint), inasmuch as more electricity
will probably be bought from utilities in the future.
Also, there is a trend for industry to use more
electricity for all purposes in the future, such that
growth in fuel use for process heat would be limited.
Overall, it appears that the process heat market in
the year 2000 and later is reasonably represented by
Table 2 for the United States. For other countries
who are now becoming more industrialized, the process
heat/steam market should grow markedly, and world
demand for process heat/steam should provide a growing
market for nuclear process heat applications.
In addition to the information in Table 2, the
physical location of energy use is required to
evaluate the potential market for nuclear process
heat. Nuclear energy plants generally need to
generate substantial power to be economic, Which
indicates that sufficient industry snouLd be located
within 15-30 km of a nuclear plant to justify a
nuclear process heat plant. Individual plant
locations for the primary manufacturing industries
within the United States using process steam in large
quantities were identified in a preliminary
study;(2) 119 locations were found where there exists
a concentrated industrial steam load of at least b3
kg/s [5U0,000 lb/hr requiring about 150 t1W(t) per
location] within a 3.2 km (2-mile) radius Isuototal
requirement of about 18 GW(t)J. An additional 24
Locations had a combined industrial steam requirement
of at least 252 kg/s [2,000,UO lb/hr, requiring about
600 MW(t) per location] within a circle of lb km (10
miles) diameter [subtotal requirement 0f 14 GW(t)J,
and l' further locations had a combinerG requirement of
at least 504 kg/s 14,000,000 lb/hr, requiring about
1200 MW(t) per location) within a circle of 32 km (20
miles) diameter [subLotal requirement of about 23
GW(t)j. Summing tip the above gives a process power
requirement of ;oout 55 GW(t). In the above it was
recognized that not all of the steam generated in a
given plant may be replaceable on an economic basis.
Significant steam is often produced by the combustion
of process residuals; these materials, if not usea for
steam generation, may have little or no alternate
value. Examples of such fuels are the black liquor
and wood-waste of the paper industry, certain refinery
gases or the petroleum industry, and the blast furnace
gas of the iron and steel industry. To avoid
neglecting this factor, estimates were developed of
the nominal fractional range of steam production that
is met using process residual fuels in plants within
each industry. On the average, about 87% of the steam
sources were judged replaceable.
In subsequent evaluations which were not ilited
to process steam use,(3) it was found that about 237
of manufacturing process energy is consumed by 101
large plants requiring greater than 5O MW(t) per
plant [subtotal of about 50 GW(t)j and about 58% of
manufacturing process energy is consumed by 12U large
plants requiring greater than 100 MW(t) per plant
[subtotal of 120 GW(t)J. The above gives a total of
about L70 GW(t).
The above values can be compared with the energy
consumed as given in Table 2. The energy use in Table
2 corresponds to energy output of boilers and
furnaces; to convert to fuel energy use, the
efficiencies of the boilers and furnaces are needed.
An overall efficiency of 8O% is used here, which tends
to be higher than actual, and underestimates fuel use.
This leads to a total fuel energy requirement of i4.6
exajoules per year, or the equivalent of 463 GW(t);
energy for steam use would be equivalent to 265 GW(t)
and direct heat use would be equivalent to 198 GW(t).
The above illustrates several things: tirst,
there is a very large total process heat market, but
it is distributed; second, there are significant
quantities of process heat utilized in a number of
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Gambill, W.R. & Kasten, P.R. National need for utilizing nuclear energy for process heat generation, article, January 1, 1984; Tennessee. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1210499/m1/2/: accessed April 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.