Meet a member – Seaborg Technologies ApS

25. May 2020

For the past five years, Seaborg Technologies has been working on a completely new type of nuclear reactor based on liquid salt. A solution that could potentially develop into a win in the fight for the climate. The reactor is fast to scale and at the same time it produces 100 per cent. CO2-neutral energy. Furthermore, the waste in the new nuclear reactors in the fourth generation nuclear power will fill quite a bit, because the fuel is utilized better than in the previous generations.

The development of a new type of nuclear reactor on liquid salt is taking shape

Seaborg Technologies is working on developing and later building a fundamentally different type of nuclear reactor, which uses molten salt as a refrigerant. Where in the past the reactors used uranium or plutonium in solid form, this reactor instead has the radioactive material dissolved in molten salt. The potential is enormous and the reactor will do away with the existing understanding of nuclear power, as it will be able to be built modularly and built decentrally, where it can supply emission-free electricity and heat where there is a real need for a replacement for coal and gas. It is important to point out here that the crucial difference in the use of this new nuclear reactor is that the plant cannot melt down or explode. In addition, large parts of the nuclear waste can be recycled to produce new energy. The reactor type is known back from the 50s when the first prototype was built, but a key component – the moderator has been an essential barrier to commercialization until Seaborg Technologies ApS found and patented a new solution.

The reactor is – in short – interesting because:

  • it is safe (ie it can not explode or melt)
  • it can be constructed in smaller units (from 100 MWe and up)
  • it can recycle spent reactor fuel
  • Business-critical patent for the next generation of nuclear reactors

In the reactor, the reactor core itself plays a crucial role. In relation to the core, Seaborg Technologies already has a business-critical patent (December 2018) and the work in this innovation project will both strengthen and expand the existing patent as well as reduce the technical uncertainty and thus risk in connection with its implementation.

Support program creates opportunities for material understanding and solution options

The innovation project primarily focuses on looking at some of the corrosion challenges involved in a hot salt melt which must be kept enclosed in pipes and containers made of metal. Seaborg Technologies expects to take a major step forward in material understanding and necessary solutions to be able to commercialize our reactor design with the innovative choice of moderator.

This knowledge transfer project was tailored to our needs – we can benefit from the unique material knowledge in the form of DTU MEK or TRD Surfaces as partners in the project while we (Seaborg Aps) can focus on further development of the necessary chemical control and salt understanding. – Ask Løvschall-Jensen, Co-founder & COO, PhD, Seaborg Technologies ApS

The knowledge partner in the project, DTU, will set up and carry out a series of experiments that test and validate corrosion rates in materials in contact with the moderator under special atmospheric control. DTU expects to carry out corrosion tests on 2-3 materials and 2-4 coatings of these and must throughout the project process with great certainty describe the corrosion rates under the different conditions and for the different materials / coatings.

Although the project has not yet been completed, we have managed to take several of the planned next steps already, including by supplementing development and strengthening the collaboration with a business PhD in the specific area. This has meant that we have already been able to complete the first phase of the regulatory approval for the reactor as one of the first companies in the world and the further approval work is now in full focus. – Ask Løvschall-Jensen, Co-founder & COO, PhD, Seaborg Technologies ApS

Furthermore, the innovation collaboration has set the framework for several new projects both internally but also together with DTU MEK and the collaboration has concretely resulted in a business PhD and a joint Grand Solution application at the Innovation Fund.

Through the project, Seaborg Technologies expects to take a major step forward in material understanding and necessary solutions to be able to commercialize their reactor design with the innovative moderator choice. The project totals DKK 2,677,277.

About Seaborg Technologies Aps:

Seaborg Technologies started in 2014 and today has 30 employees, including 12 PhDs from 5 continents. Seaborg Techologies works with the development of new energy technologies, including the innovative and compact liquid salt reactor and the use of liquid salts for energy transport and storage.

About TIME

The energy and environmental technology sector faces a number of development needs in relation to developing new innovative products, solutions or concepts. The project TIME (Technology Innovation, Environment and Energy) offers a 3-year support program where small and medium-sized companies together with DTU can develop environmental and energy technology solutions and products. CLEAN also has four programs that cover other regions in Denmark.