R&D Quick Hits


Facts, Figures, and Findings from EPRI Research, Reports, and Other Sources

Nuclear “microreactors” offer unique capabilities for displacing diesel power generation in numerous applications and for supporting critical infrastructure, according to an EPRI Emerging Technologies Brief. While most commercial nuclear reactors today produce more than 1,000 megawatts of power, microreactors (also known as very small modular reactors) range in capacity from kilowatts to less than 50 megawatts (most are in the 1–10 megawatt range). Unlike their larger counterparts, they are designed for full factory fabrication and rapid deployment, reducing cost and schedule uncertainty. Simplified heat removal and safety systems and stable reactor cores can reduce accident risks, ...
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In the future, artificial intelligence could help grid operators avoid outages. In a preliminary EPRI study, machine learning techniques showed promise in their ability to accurately identify events on the power grid by analyzing massive amounts of data. Over the past decade, utilities have deployed thousands of in grids across the United States. These collect synchronized voltage and current measurements (known as synchrophasors) 10–60 times per second. For grid operators, these data can potentially provide better awareness of real-time conditions, help integrate renewable energy, and help detect and identify problems before they lead to outages. Machine learning seems ...
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A study by EPRI and Ameren Illinois offers a preliminary answer: yes. Traditionally, utilities train line workers on tasks by providing paper guides and administering computer tutorials in an office, often months before completing tasks. As smart technologies are widely integrated with the grid, line workers must master more tasks, raising the question of whether traditional training is still adequate. A possible solution is just-in-time training. At the work site, technicians view tasks simulated in augmented reality (AR) apps minutes before performing the work. EPRI U offers hundreds of trainings in nuclear power, generation, and power ...
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An EPRI study of five solar photovoltaic (PV) plants across the United States found that their contribution to flicker was insignificant. Flicker refers to fluctuation in a light’s brightness resulting from rapid voltage variations in the power grid. It is commonly associated with fluctuating industrial loads such as steel mills and electric boilers. Widespread deployment of variable solar generation is expected to increase voltage variations, raising concerns of more widespread flicker and other adverse impacts on power quality. Beginning in 2012, researchers in EPRI’s Integration of Distributed Energy Resources program deployed power quality meters at several solar PV ...
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With electric long-haul trucks on the way, utilities need to prepare for higher power charging and related grid impacts, according to an EPRI Quick Insights paper. With falling battery prices, more truck manufacturers are considering production of short- and long-haul electric trucks. Daimler’s trucking division is deploying and testing two medium-range electric trucks. Tesla announced plans to manufacture trucks with 300-mile and 500-mile ranges, beginning next year. While the price of the 500-mile model ($180,000) is $60,000 more than a diesel-fueled semi truck, Tesla claims that its truck will save about $250,000 over the first million miles relative ...
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