Plans unveiled for clean energy 'innovation campus'

08 June 2021

Canadian company Kinectrics has announced plans to design, build and operate a collaborative clean energy innovation campus, Helius, which will amongst other things provide infrastructure needed to support the development, testing and commercialisation of small modular reactors (SMRs). The new campus is to be sited alongside Kinectrics’ existing laboratories in Toronto, Ontario.

(Image: Kinectrics)

Development of advanced SMR designs, including high temperature gas reactors (HTGR), requires specialised infrastructure that is not currently available, the company said. Such facilities are needed for the testing, large-scale experiments and modelling required to assure performance and technology readiness of reactor components and to develop reliable predictive models for design and safety analysis, amongst other things, as well as to mitigate technical, schedule and project risk.

Helius aims to unite Canadian academic institutions, industry leaders, SMR developers and utilities. The innovation campus will feature a 10 MW, electrically heated, helium test loop for the development, testing and qualification of materials, components and systems used in high-temperature gas reactors. Secondary loops will mimic the actual usage of technologies to be married with advanced nuclear reactors, including thermal energy storage, hydrogen generation, industrial/district heating and niche applications such as water treatment and advanced materials. Collaboration agreements are in progress with X-energy, U-Battery, Énergie NB Power and the Nuclear Innovation Institute, as well as with universities and Natural Resources Canada.

Katherine Moshonas Cole, president of X-energy Canada, said: "Our Xe-100 SMR is a Generation IV HTGR. Helius will allow us to test the safety and performance requirements of our systems and components in high-temperature environments. The facility will also enable us to demonstrate Xe-100's high-temperature steam for hydrogen production and direct industrial uses. These capabilities are critical for Canada’s plans for a net-zero future."

The Helius campus will include "flexible and adaptable" facilities with collaborative space for R&D, testing, and scale-up of a variety of clean energy technologies; helium, molten salt and steam loops with operating temperatures between 200°C and 1100°C; and district heating, greenhouse agriculture, and hydrogen generation and storage facilities.

Kinectrics President and CEO David Harris said the initiative will help to create long-term jobs in Ontario as well as supporting the development, testing and commercialisation of SMRs, providing the critical infrastructure required to accelerate their introduction around the world.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News