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Can We Utilize 6 Megawatts of Clean Energy on the MIT Campus?




22: Nuclear Science and Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

Jacopo Buongiorno

Faculty email:


Apply by:

December 18, 2020



Project Description

This project will study the techno-economic feasibility of utilizing 6 megawatts of carbon-free, low-grade heat (40-50C) generated by the MIT Nuclear Reactor, located on the MIT campus in Cambridge. Possible uses include local heating (for adjacent dorms and/or nearby Zesiger center), electric production (using thermo-electric devices) and horticulture (greenhouse for research, urban farming, algae growth). The team of students and faculty will: • develop a detailed list of potential utilizations for the reactor heat; • assess the environmental benefits (e.g., displaced CO2 emissions) of using nuclear heat for such applications; • develop the conceptual thermal-hydraulic design and cost estimates for the heat delivery systems required by the various applications identified; • present the outcome of the study to the MIT Senior Administration; • pursue implementation of one or more solutions identified in the study. The main deliverable for this project is a final report describing various utilizations of the heat from the MIT Nuclear Reactor. Watch the MIT Reactor video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QcN3KDexcU


MIT students from all majors and all years are welcome to apply.