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ORNL develops tool to streamline power generation

Tennessee, US: Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) developed a technology to streamline and strengthen the process for siting power plants. It aims to enhance the nation’s energy security.
Oak Ridge Siting Analysis for Power Generation Expansion, or OR-SAGE, divides the US into nearly 700 million 2.5-acre cells that can be studied to determine if they are candidates for one or more types of electric power plant. The OR-SAGE utilises GIS data in addition to ORNL’s LandScan, an advanced population database, examines millions of cells and simultaneously determines their suitability for the various types of power generation.
“With this study and resulting tool we are able to identify candidate sites for a variety of electrical generation plants and further characterisation of these sites,” said Randy Belles, a researcher at the ORNL. “We can evaluate for any given prospective site which type of plant is best suited, how far it is to transmission assets and the distance to underground geological formations suitable for carbon sequestration.”
This tool was used to produce results presented in a 152-page report prepared by the Department of Energy’s ORNL for the Electric Power Research Institute and allows for quick screening and characterisation of potential sites.
“OR-SAGE is a dynamic visualisation database that allows us to look at the entire country through a lens,” said Olufemi Omitaomu, a researcher in ORNL’s Computational Sciences and Engineering Division. “The technology provides assistance working with real-world constraints.”
Omitaomu and colleagues Gary Mays and Randy Belles emphasised that OR-SAGE is not a substitute for a “boots on the ground” detailed inspection of a given site, but the tool provides much information regarding numerous screening factors and considerations without having to visit a site.
“OR-SAGE takes into account availability of water, identifies sufficient land areas that are suitable to meet nominal requirements for the footprint of the various types of plants and impacts on siting future plants in terms of increases in population and demand for water,” said Mays, project manager and a member of ORNL’s Reactor and Nuclear Systems Division. “Ultimately, the tool allows for the flexible use of screening criteria for candidate site comparisons and enhances the ability to assess energy needs.”
Source: ORNL