Exploring a Suitable Business Model for Nuclear Batteries
Santiago Andrade Aparicio and John E. Parsons
The ‘nuclear battery’ is a new concept for delivering nuclear powered heat and electricity. Their small scale and portability enable use off-grid. Their inherent safety and energy density make them ideal low-carbon replacements for fossil fuel-fired combined heat-and-power plants and other distributed generation co-located at industrial and commercial facilities. They can also be used as emergency energy sources where the grid has been temporarily disabled. These new use-cases require development of a new business model for nuclear, one that recognizes that the energy end-user is the customer and that the product is more differentiated than baseload electricity. We look to the existing business model for fossil fuel-fired distributed generation to identify elements that can be ported over to a model for nuclear batteries, and other elements that must be re-imagined to support the use of nuclear batteries. The value of co-location is key, and customers often purchase energy as a service as opposed to purchasing equipment. Indeed, the specialized skillset required for managing nuclear fuel and systems as compared with fossil fuel-fired systems expands the energy customer’s reliance on the service provider. Finally, we put forward a Business Model Canvas for the ‘Solution Provider’, the entity we envision in charge of engaging with the Customer to understand their needs, create a holistic solution for them, and engage with the rest of the players in the value chain (including, Designer/Manufacturer, Developers, Regulators, Operators).