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.



R&D on Thermochemical I-S Process at JAERI

Nuclear Energy Agency

The Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI) has conducted a study on the thermochemical water-splitting process of the iodine-sulfur family (IS process). In the IS process, water will react with iodine and sulfur dioxide to produce hydrogen iodide and sulfuric acid, which are then decomposed thermally to produce hydrogen and oxygen. High temperature nuclear heat, mainly supplied by a High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR), is used to drive the endothermic decomposition of sulfuric acid. JAERI has demonstrated the feasibility of the water-splitting hydrogen production process by carrying out laboratory-scale experiments in which combined operation of fundamental reactions and separations using the IS process was performed continuously. At present, the hydrogen production test is continuing, using a scaled-up glass apparatus. Corrosion-resistant materials for constructing a largescale plant and process improvements by introducing advanced separation techniques, such as membrane separation, are under study. Future R&D items are discussed based on the present activities...


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