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Bryden Wood reveals platform approach for repurposing coal power stations

Image: Repurposing Coal

A bespoke platform approach from Bryden Wood is to be used to enable the re-engineering of coal-fired power stations to fight climate change.

Bryden Wood is working with Terra Praxis, a non-profit organisation focused on action for climate and energy, on the ‘Repurposing Coal’ initiative, just launched at COP26.

The initiative aims to replace coal-fired boilers at existing power plants with advanced heat sources (generation IV advanced modular reactors) to deliver a substantial portion of the clean electricity required to achieve net zero by 2050.

Bryden Wood is creating a platform solution that will make this possible at scale and speed by transforming how such projects are financed, designed, approved and delivered.

Martin Wood, co-founder of Bryden Wood, said: “Instead of thousands of individual projects, we must have a unified approach where the design is simplified and standardised so that a much wider pool of designers, manufacturers and contractors can be involved to make this a reality as quickly as possible.”

Bryden Wood is working with Terra Praxis, MIT, University at Buffalo, Microsoft and KPMG to standardise and optimise the following key elements:

  • all processes including procurement, investment and approval;
  • building and engineering systems;
  • design, manufacture, assembly and operation; and
  • interactions between different supply chain organisations to enable greater collaboration.

New digital infrastructure will enable design knowledge to be embedded in the building systems and design tools so that progress and results can be shared in real time across all projects.

Coal plants vary widely so the engineering platform solution created by Bryden Wood will deliver the variety of solutions needed for different requirements and situations.

A standardised, customisable heat-transfer and storage system allows the new nuclear systems to plug in to existing coal plant infrastructure. A standardised cross-section design encloses the various types of reactor while being able to expand to deal with the increased space required.

A standardised, mass-customisable design solution will also make it possible to use new algorithmic design tools to:

  • assess coal plant viability for refurbishment;
  • create initial concepts; and
  • produce detailed design outputs for manufacturing.

Wood said: “This simplified design can be applied more quickly by a wide range of designers. The structural components can be mass produced by existing manufacturers. Most of the onsite assembly can be completed by non-nuclear specialists. We’re using platforms, innovation and future design tech to repurpose plants in a scalable way. This initiative has the potential to break through the challenge of coal. It’s complex problems like this that platforms exist to solve.”

Initially, the project will launch in the US but is designed to be rolled out worldwide and to attract customers and supply chain partners to re-engineer coal plants in all critical locations.

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