Nuclear Production of Hydrogen

Second Information Exchange Meeting -- Argonne, Illinois, USA 2-3 October 2003

image of Nuclear Production of Hydrogen

Hydrogen has the potential to play an important role as a sustainable and environmentally acceptable source of energy in the 21st century. Present methods for producing hydrogen are mainly based on the reforming of fossil fuels with subsequent release of greenhouse gases. To avoid producing greenhouse gases, the possibility to use heat and surplus electricity from nuclear power plants to produce hydrogen by water cracking is being investigated. This report presents the state of the art in the nuclear production of hydrogen and describes the scientific and technical challenges associated with it.



Hydrogen Production at <550°C Using a Low Temperature Thermochemical Cycle

Nuclear Energy Agency

A Department of Energy goal is to identify new technologies for producing hydrogen cost effectively without greenhouse gas emissions. Thermochemical cycles are one of the potential options under investigation. Thermochemical cycles consist of a series of reactions in which water is thermally decomposed and all other chemicals are recycled. Only heat and water are consumed. However, most thermochemical cycles require process heat at temperatures of 850-900°C. Argonne National Laboratory is developing low temperature cycles designed for lower temperature heat, 500-550°C, which is more readily available. For this temperature region, copper-chlorine (Cu-Cl) cycles are the most promising cycle. Several Cu-Cl cycles have been examined in the laboratory and the most promising cycle has been identified. Proof-of-principle experiments are nearly complete. A preliminary assessment of cycle efficiency is promising. Details of the experiments and efficiency calculations are discussed...


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