New source of hydrogen

The US Department of Energy today announced that it is putting approximately $1.4m into two projects that will study the economic feasibility of producing hydrogen at nuclear power plants.

The US Department of Energy intends to fund approximately $1.4m for two projects to partner with industry to study the economic feasibility of producing hydrogen at nuclear power plants.

Teams selected by DOE for funding will be headed by Electric Transportation Applications and GE Global Research. Both teams include DOE national laboratories and nuclear utility companies as partners.

‘Hydrogen is important to our economy today and will be even more important in the future as a potential clean, renewable carrier of energy, particularly in the transportation area,’ DOE Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dennis Spurgeon said. ‘Finding efficient ways to produce hydrogen by using emissions-free nuclear power has long been an important part of President Bush’s energy strategy.’

Electric Transportation Applications plans to perform a study looking at the economics of producing hydrogen at existing nuclear power plants using commercially available production technology. ETA will partner with DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory and Arizona Public Service.

GE Global Research proposes a feasibility study of hydrogen production using alkaline electrolysis powered by existing nuclear power plants. Their proposal is based on the low-cost alkaline electrolyser technology developed by GE, in part under DOE’s Hydrogen Program. Partners for this project include DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab and the Entergy Corporation.

‘Both of these proposals involve very strong project teams, with a lot of experience in both the nuclear energy and hydrogen production areas,’ Assistant Secretary Spurgeon said. ‘I believe the results of their studies will bring a good deal of new information to the question of how to use nuclear energy to efficiently produce hydrogen in this country.’

These studies support President Bush’s Advanced Energy and Hydrogen Fuel Initiatives, as well as the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Funding for these studies is provided by the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy’s Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative, with industry sharing a minimum of 20 percent of the cost.