TerraPraxis launches first digital application to decarbonize coal plants at COP27

TerraPraxis is making available for the first time on Nov. 7 its new EVALUATE application, which enables coal plant owners and investors around the world to evaluate hundreds of coal plants for fast, low-cost, and repeatable conversion to emissions-free power generation sources. The non-profit seeks to accelerate solutions for hard-to-decarbonize sectors, which includes the global fleet of 2,400 coal plants.

Replacing existing coal boilers with a new generation of advanced fission, fusion, and geothermal heat sources would enable coal plants to stop burning coal—today the single largest source of global carbon emissions—and continue operation emissions-free for decades to come. The application will be free and is designed to help every coal plant owner in the world, as well as potential investors, conduct an initial analysis of the business case, including estimated costs and schedule, for upgrading existing coal plants.

The target total cost for repowering is $2,000/kWe, with a target project duration of fewer than 5 years.

Repowering coal plants with emissions-free heat sources would save thousands of jobs by repurposing the facilities rather than shutting them down and would save millions of dollars of capital cost by reusing the existing infrastructure and transmission lines. This has the power to radically accelerate a clean and equitable energy transition while providing secure, reliable, and clean energy to millions of people worldwide.

“Repurposing existing coal and gas plants with advanced nuclear technologies creates new opportunities to leverage existing infrastructure, transmission lines, industry knowledge, workforces, capital, and supply chains to support decarbonization of the global economy at speed and scale,” said Eric Ingersoll, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, TerraPraxis

The solution comes following a strategic collaboration with Microsoft, who helped develop the application. It is being unveiled for the first time in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt at COP27, an annual gathering with world leaders on climate action. The solution is built on Microsoft Azure, and takes advantage of Azure’s compute and AI capabilities to analyze the details of every coal plant in the world for suitable SMR configurations to repower. It then generates the financial and technical details for each repowering project and uses Microsoft Power Platform to make these available for coal plant owners in a self-service portal hosted by TerraPraxis.

“The world needs more energy, not less,” said Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President, Microsoft. “To reach net zero, we must come together and develop new sustainable power sources, as well as transform what already exists. TerraPraxis’ solution to transform coal-fired power plants into carbon-free energy sources is a great example of the innovation the world will need to create a sustainable future.”

“Repurposing existing fossil infrastructure can also help ensure continuity for communities reliant on existing power plants for energy, jobs, tax revenue, and continued economic development. Leveraging the power of AI and cloud computing can further accelerate the cost-effective upgrading of coal and gas plant sites with new advanced heat sources,” said Kirsty Gogan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, TerraPraxis

The historic Paris Agreement reached at COP21 in December 2015 states that emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach Net Zero by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Progress since has not been rapid enough, with global emissions continuing to rise each year, especially for the world’s most polluting energy source: coal. With just 27 years (9,900 days) to 2050, the speed and scale of the clean energy transition require the unprecedented deployment of new technologies to meet rising global energy demand—both cost-effectively and without emissions.

To meet this need, TerraPraxis is leading a global consortium—including regulators, governments, utilities, heat source vendors, operators, designers, and assemblers—to resolve the major barriers to rapid deployment of emission-free heat sources, leveraging the power of standardized designs, AI, cloud computing, and big data. Project stakeholders are pursuing the development of an open architecture REPOWER platform, which would enable all project parties to work together to transform project design, licensing, development, and delivery.

In addition to partnerships with Microsoft, Bryden Wood, MIT, and University at Buffalo, TerraPraxis has recently entered a series of strategic collaborations with the following world-class industry partners and sustainability leaders.

Schneider Electric and TerraPraxis have entered a strategic partnership that will leverage Schneider Electric’s leadership in cutting-edge technology and global manufacturing to deliver proven technologies to accelerate this energy transition and help TerraPraxis pave the way for new, more agile plants that can be built faster and lower customer costs.

TerraPraxis is actively engaged with several heat source vendors to develop a standardized systems interface that works between a variety of emission-free heat sources and coal-fired power plants. A Letter of Intent with Terrestrial Energy has already been entered into, with several others to follow to join the consortium.

TerraPraxis has been working with a group of utilities, including some of the largest in the world, and is now seeking candidates to join their Customer Advisory Group. TerraPraxis has entered a strategic partnership with Elementl Power, an advanced nuclear development company that identifies, acquires, and prepares locations throughout the U.S. for the deployment of advanced nuclear technologies. As part of their strategy to accelerate the deployment of clean, baseload power, Elementl intends to use the EVALUATE application to diligence the acquisition and conversion of coal plants to advanced nuclear. Elementl Power is a portfolio company of Breakwater North, a private investment firm focused on opportunities in the nuclear and clean energy sectors.

“TerraPraxis’ Repowering Coalsolution is targeting a Levelized Cost of Energy of $35 – $40 per megawatt-hour (not including tax credits). In the United States, the new production tax credit of $30 per megawatt-hour, provisioned by the Inflation Reduction Act, makes repowering coal-fired plants with advanced nuclear technologies a highly profitable investment opportunity,” said Eric Ingersoll.

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