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National Laboratories Host Summit to Tackle Climate Goals: Energy and Environment

February 04, 2022

National laboratories from the UK, USA, France, Canada and Japan hosted a summit where they agreed to collaborate on research and innovation to achieve net zero energy savings.

(Image: IEA)

The aim of the event, organized by the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), was to build on the COP26 summit – the UN Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow in November .

High-level delegates from eight national laboratories covering nuclear, renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies agreed to work together to advance “a holistic understanding of what the future integrated energy system will look like in order to evolve technologies so that they are suitable and ready to deliver”.

UK government chief science officer Patrick Vallance said innovation had a key role to play in helping solve the climate challenge which “is huge for societies around the world…it’s an international issue and requires therefore an international collaboration”.

NNL CEO Paul Howarth said national labs have a “unique role” to play “in bridging the gap between academia and industry and driving the innovation needed to make future technologies work.”

The joint statement of intent agreed at the Integrated Energy Systems Summit states that discoveries made by national laboratories have improved the lives of billions of people.

He added: “The transition to net zero is driving fundamental changes in the supply, demand, transmission, distribution, storage and use of energy. Research and innovation are needed to develop , design and operate a net zero energy economy.

“An integrated energy system can combine low-carbon energy sources, such as nuclear and renewables, leveraging the advantages of each technology and how they work to deliver low-carbon energy reliable, sustainable and affordable energy services that benefit our citizens.”

He added: “By working together, we have the opportunity to coordinate and collaborate around our approach, and improve the prospects for success in this next decisive decade.”

Among the agreed areas of collaboration are research on the use of hydrogen “directly as a fuel or as a feedstock for other synthetic fuels”, the sharing of best practices in sustainability, the organization of exchange and common documents and a commitment to meet annually to review progress.

Kentaro Funaki of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency said: “We are already partners in nuclear research and innovation…and we all have a strong foundation to design, develop and deploy nuclear and renewable hybrid systems. .

The JAEA added that it was exploring the potential of high-temperature gas-cooled reactors for heat utilization and hydrogen production.

“We have decided to participate in this initiative, which also involves research institutes in non-nuclear fields, since integrated energy systems require a total effort from the energy community, and not only from the nuclear energy community,” he added.

Marianne Walck, Director of Research for the Idaho National Laboratory, said, “The transition to a low-carbon energy system is critically important to global sustainability, and integrated energy systems can harness the benefits of clean energy sources working together, including nuclear and renewables.

Stéphane Sarrade, from the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, said the commission was proud to be part of it, saying it was “in line with French energy policy, based on the use and convergence of energy nuclear and renewables.

Jeff Griffin, Vice President Science and Technology at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, said, “CNL’s clean energy mission is driving research and development in hydrogen technology, advanced reactors and fuels, and sustainable exploitation. of our current CANDU fleet…collective knowledge is a powerful tool, and we look forward to sharing our expertise, research and learning to help shape the energy systems of the future.”

Guy Newey, Director of Strategy and Performance at Energy Systems Catapult, said: “If we are to unleash the innovation we need to achieve a net zero global economy, it is essential that we take an integrated approach that understands the roles of different technologies, markets, digital technology and, most importantly, people.”

Doug Arent, Executive Director of Strategic Public-Private Partnerships at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, added, “Building on many years of our national collaborations focused on integrated low-carbon energy systems, we are delighted to participate in this international collaboration between national laboratories. “

Research and writing by World Nuclear News