(112b) Near-Term Approaches to Nuclear Hydrogen Production | AIChE

(112b) Near-Term Approaches to Nuclear Hydrogen Production


Bolthrunis, C. O. - Presenter, Shaw Stone & Webster
Kuhr, R. W. - Presenter, Shaw Consultants International, Inc.

With the commercialization of the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor) in South Africa within the next 6 to 7 years and the prospects for demonstration of hydrogen production with water-splitting technology at the NGNP (Next Generation Nuclear Plant) at the Idaho National Laboratory soon thereafter, the path is opening for the use of advanced nuclear reactors as a source of high-temperature process heat. Steam methane reforming is both an important user of high-temperature process heat and currently the dominant commercial method for producing hydrogen. Steam methane reforming using heat from an advanced nuclear reactor is under development and may become an important commercial technology for hydrogen production by late next decade. This hydrogen production technology can serve as an interim strategy for displacing natural gas consumption with nuclear heat and provide an option for large-scale nuclear hydrogen production prior to the commercialization of water-splitting technologies. This paper examines the characteristics of the nuclear heat source, the reforming application, and their integration into a practical system. It also describes the implementation of these innovations in a nuclear hydrogen plant design, identifies plans for key technology development and demonstration steps, addresses regulatory issues that must be resolved to support commercial application, and discusses the projected markets and economics of this technology.