(224f) Techno-Economic Assessment of Nuclear Production of Hydrogen for Refining Applications in Saudi Arabia
AIChE Annual Meeting
Monday, November 14, 2022 - 5:40pm to 5:57pm
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is planning to construct 16 nuclear power reactors over the next 20 years at a cost of more than $80 billion. It is expected that these reactors will have a capacity of 17 GWe of in order to supply one sixth of the Kingdom's power supply, along with more than 60 GWe of a targeted renewable energy capacity by 2030. As a part of this plan, it would be in the interest of Saudi Arabia to consider the production of hydrogen via nuclear energy, which was already echoed in a recent statement by the Saudi Energy Minister. In fact, the Kingdom is already a major consumer of hydrogen as a feedstock for its oil refineries. Currently, there are 10 oil refineries in the kingdom with a total oil processing capacity of 2.9 million bpd. We estimated that the total demand for hydrogen by all refineries 252 kTonne every year. In this work, the IAEA Hydrogen Economic Evaluation Programme (HEEP) has been used to estimate the LCOE of hydrogen production using four nuclear reactor technology scenarios; Conventional Electrolysis, Conventional Electrolysis with Enlarged Thermal Rating, High Temperature Steam Electrolysis, and the Sulphur Iodine Process. The aim is to evaluate the cost of hydrogen production using different nuclear reactor technologies and how it gets impacted by various economic and technical parameters. It was found the high temperature steam electrolysis using High Temperature Gas Reactors (HTGR) provides the lowest cost for hydrogen production at $2.49/kgH2 that is comparable to today's production costs from conventional steam reforming of natural gas, Figures 1. It was also found that scaling up conventional electrolysis using boiling water reactors may reduce the cost needed to produce hydrogen from $6.2/kgH2 to $3.97/kgH2, Figure 1. The sensitivity of these costs towards various financial parameters including inflation rates, discount rates, tax rates, and decommissioning costs were analysed which provides feasible insight to determine the cost of hydrogen production in various scenarios.