Dow, a leading global materials science company, and X-energy, a nuclear energy innovation company, signed a letter of intent which will help Dow advance its carbon emissions reduction goals through the development and deployment of X-energy's advanced small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) technology in the US.
Dow and X-energy will collaborate with the intent to deploy X-energy’s Xe-100 high-temperature gas reactor technology at one of Dow’s US Gulf Coast sites—which is expected to be operational by approximately 2030. The Xe-100 reactor plant would provide cost-competitive, carbon-free process heat and power to the Dow facility. Dow also intends to take a minority equity stake in X-energy, working with the company to deploy small modular nuclear technology.
Advanced small modular nuclear technology is going to be a critical tool for Dow’s path to zero-carbon emissions and our ability to drive growth by delivering low-carbon products to our customers. X-energy’s technology is among the most advanced, and when deployed will deliver safe, reliable, low-carbon power and steam. This is a great opportunity for Dow to lead our industry in carbon neutral manufacturing by deploying next-generation nuclear energy.—Jim Fitterling, Dow chairman and CEO
X-energy’s Xe-100 is a Generation IV, high-temperature gas-cooled reactor built on decades of research, development and operating experience. Each reactor is engineered to operate as a single 80 MW electric unit and is optimized as a four-unit plant delivering 320 MW electric.
The Xe-100 is fueled with 220,000 graphite pebbles with TRISO (tri-structural isotropic) particle fuel. X-energy manufactures its own proprietary version (TRISO-X) to ensure supply and quality control. Built with a high-temperature-tolerant graphite core structure, the Xe-100 is designed for a 60-year operational life.
The reactor can provide clean, reliable and safe baseload power to an electricity system or support industrial applications with 200 MW thermal output per unit of high pressure, high temperature steam.
The United States Department of Energy has recognized that advanced small modular nuclear reactor technology is a key part of the Department’s goal to develop safe, clean and affordable nuclear power options. In 2020, X-energy was selected by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program to deliver a four-unit Xe-100 plant in Washington state, which will make it among the first operational grid-scale advanced reactor plants in North America.
Small modular nuclear represents a key technology to enable energy-intensive industries to decarbonize. This announcement marks an additional step in Dow’s efforts to deliver 30% reduction in scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions since 2005 by 2030, on its path to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. In 2021, Dow announced plans to build the world’s first net-zero (scope 1 and 2 emissions) carbon emissions integrated ethylene cracker and derivatives site in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.
It also builds on Dow's efforts to continue transitioning its sites and operations globally to cleaner power. Last year, the Company expanded its access to renewable power to more than 900 MW and obtained more than 25% of its purchased electricity from renewable sources. Today, Dow is among the top 20 users of clean energy among global corporations.