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.



Nuclear Thermochemical Production of Hydrogen with a Lower-temperature Iodine-Westinghouse-Ispra Sulphur Process

Nuclear Energy Agency

Thermochemical processes are the primary candidates to produce hydrogen (H2) using hightemperature heat from nuclear reactors. The leading thermochemical processes have the same hightemperature chemical reaction (dissociation of sulphuric acid into H2O, O2, and SO2) and thus all require heat inputs at temperatures of -850°C. The processes differ in that they have different lowertemperature chemical reactions. The high temperatures are at the upper limits of high-temperature nuclear reactor technology. If peak temperatures can be reduced by 100 to 150°C, existing reactor technology can be used to provide the necessary heat for H2 production and the H2 produced using nuclear reactors becomes a much more viable near-term industrial option. If process pressures can be increased, significant reductions in capital cost and improvements in efficiency may be possible....


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