Matthew Ellis and Samuel Shaner

Matthew Ellis and Samuel Shaner

Yellowstone Logo

Project Description: 

Yellowstone Energy is focused on the development of a modular, safe, and economic advanced nuclear reactor.  The Yellowstone Energy reactor is designed to reduce overnight construction costs via a simplified and passively safe design and provides additional grid services to improve the economic competitiveness of nuclear power in the United States.

We are looking for:

  • Mentoring
  • Development and deployment partnerships

Critical need for this technology:

Currently there are approximately one hundred commercial light water reactors (LWRs) operating in the United States, and these nuclear reactors account for 20% of U.S. electricity production, which is 60% of all of the CO2-free electricity generated in the United States [1]. However, starting in the 2030s, LWRs will begin to shut down at a rate of approximately 4 reactors per year because of 60-year operating license limitations [2].  Because of the large capital cost to construct new LWRs, it is unlikely that a significant number of LWRs will be constructed to replace the retiring reactors, and as a result, a new, low capital cost nuclear reactor design is needed to replace the CO2-free electricity generation that is lost as current LWRs begin to retire.

Supplemental needs for this technology:

In addition to age-related design limitations, LWRs in the U.S. are being retired prematurely prior to operating license limitations because of shifting electricity market pricing, compensation, and dynamics. Current LWR designs are not optimized to compete in future electricity markets where electricity load and pricing can vary significantly, especially in markets with high wind and solar electricity production.  To be economically competitive in future electricity markets and a viable replacement for current LWRs, advanced nuclear reactors must not only show significant capital cost reductions, but also provide additional grid services beyond baseload electricity generation to enhance revenue.

Potential Market:

Yellowstone Energy is focused on advanced reactor deployment in the United States because the rapidly approaching retirement of nuclear capacity.  While competitive in both regulated and deregulated electricity markets, the Yellowstone Energy advanced nuclear reactor design is optimized to significantly improve economic competitiveness in electricity markets with increasing and high renewable energy penetration.

Key Innovation:

Yellowstone Energy is focused on the development of key nuclear reactor component technology that enables a modular, safe, and economic advanced nuclear reactor that is near-term deployable.

R&D Status of Product:

Department of Energy investments in nuclear reactor modeling and simulation tools and expertise are being leveraged to quantify and improve performance metrics of the key nuclear reactor component technology. Next steps include the refinement of the detailed reactor design based on improved performance metrics.

Team Overview:

Matthew Ellis,CEO
Ph.D. in nuclear science and engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sam Shaner, CTO
Ph.D. in nuclear science and engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Company Profile: 

  • Total Amount Raised: $2.6 million 
  • Status: Private
  • Year Founded: 2016 
  • Patents: 1 (pending)
  • Primary Industry: Energy and Electricity Generation
  • Category: Nuclear power
  • Estimated Annual Revenue: N/A
  • Employs: 2
  • Social Challenge: CO2-free electricity production
  • R&D Commercial Collaborator: None