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Title: Evaluation of Hydrogen Production Feasibility for a Light Water Reactor in the Midwest

Abstract

Increased electricity production from renewable energy resources coupled with low natural gas prices has caused existing light-water reactor (LWRs) to experience ever diminishing returns from the electricity market. Via partnership among Idaho National Laboratory (INL), The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Exelon, and Fuel Cell Energy a techno-economic analysis on the viability of retrofitting existing pressurized water reactors (PWRs) to produce hydrogen (H2) via high temperature steam electrolysis (HTSE) has been conducted. Such integration would allow nuclear facilities to expand into additional markets that may be more profitable in the long-term. To accommodate such an integration, a detailed analysis of HTSE process operation, requirements, and flexibility was conducted. Technical analysis includes proposed nuclear system control scheme modifications to allow dynamic operation of the HTSE via both thermal and electrical connection to the nuclear plant. High fidelity Modelica simulations showcase the viability of such control schemes. However, due to limited knowledge of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack degradation due to thermal gradients; thermal cycling of the HTSE was not included. Therefore, the control schemes proposed are only utilized to re-distribute steam at startup and only the portion of electricity utilized in the electrolyzers is cycled. Frommore » the detailed analysis of the nuclear integration and the HTSE process design, a comprehensive cost estimation was conducted in the APEA and H2A models to elucidate capital and operational costs associated with the production, compression, and distribution of hydrogen from a nuclear facility. Alongside this costing analysis, market analyses were conducted by NREL and ANL on the electric and hydrogen markets respectively in the PJM interconnect. Utilizing the electricity data market projections in the PJM interconnect from NREL and hydrogen demand/pricing projections from ANL a five variable sweep over component capacities, discount rates, and hydrogen pricing was completed using the stochastic framework RAVEN (Risk Analysis Virtual ENVironment) through its resource dispatch plugin HERON (Heuristic Energy Resource Optimization Network). Each combination of variables was evaluated stochastically four times over a seventeen year timespan from 2026-2042 (inclusive) to determine the most economically advantageous solution. Following the five variable sweep an optimization was conducted about the best sweep point to determine optimal component sizing and setpoints. Results suggest positive gain is achievable at all projected hydrogen market pricing levels and at all discount rates. However, exact component sizing and net returns vary based on these values and if incorrect sizing is selected; major net losses can occur. The optimal result occurred with set points as follows: high hydrogen prices, the largest possible HTSE unit in the sweep set at 7.47 kg/sec [645.4 tpd], a contractual hydrogen market agreement 7.29 kg/sec [629.8 tpd], and a hydrogen storage size 115,188 kg. The analysis suggested that with a discount rate of 8% the ?NPV = 1.2 billion over the seventeen year span. The results illuminate that by operating in multiple markets the nuclear facility is capable of avoiding sale of electricity during times of low electricity market pricing, while maintaining the ability to capitalize on the high electricity market pricing. It should be noted that the analysis conducted in this report is a differential cash flow analysis and as such does not present profit levels. Instead it highlights the net benefit between building and competing in the hydrogen market utilizing nuclear facilities and conducting business as usual in the electricity markets. Additionally, results presented in this report exhibit conservatism due to four key assumptions: Given the limited knowledge on SOFC stack degradation due to thermal gradients the high temperature steam electrolysis plant is not allowed to thermally cycle. This limitation decreases electricity generation capacity in the nuclear plant, reducing capacity payments and the maximum output to the electrical grid. This analysis considers building a separate hydrogen pipeline for use in the nuclear facility. Research is currently being conducted to determine if existing natural gas pipelines can accommodate direct hydrogen injection. If hydrogen can be integrated into existing natural gas pipelines then a capital savings of ~$19,000,000 per kg/sec [1 kg/sec = 86.4 tpd] of installed HTSE capacity could be realized. Fast transients in the electric grid are typically served by flywheels and electric batteries. With electrolysis only operation the nuclear plant can flex its electricity just as quickly. However, for the analysis the ancillary services market has been neglected. Should the nuclear plant have the ability to operate in the ancillary servic« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [3];  [3]
  1. Idaho National Laboratory
  2. NREL
  3. ANL
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1569271
Report Number(s):
INL/EXT-19-55395-Rev000
DOE Contract Number:  
DE-AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 - SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 22 - GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; 24 - POWER TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION; 29 - ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; High Temperature Steam Electrolysis; Pressurized Water Reactors; Hydrogen; Light Water Reactors; PJM

Citation Formats

Frick, Konor L, Talbot, Paul W, Wendt, Daniel S, Boardman, Richard D, Rabiti, Cristian, Bragg-Sitton, Shannon M, Ruth, Mark, Levie, Daniel, Frew, Bethany, Elgowainy, Amgad, and Hawkins, Troy. Evaluation of Hydrogen Production Feasibility for a Light Water Reactor in the Midwest. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.2172/1569271.
Frick, Konor L, Talbot, Paul W, Wendt, Daniel S, Boardman, Richard D, Rabiti, Cristian, Bragg-Sitton, Shannon M, Ruth, Mark, Levie, Daniel, Frew, Bethany, Elgowainy, Amgad, & Hawkins, Troy. Evaluation of Hydrogen Production Feasibility for a Light Water Reactor in the Midwest. United States. doi:10.2172/1569271.
Frick, Konor L, Talbot, Paul W, Wendt, Daniel S, Boardman, Richard D, Rabiti, Cristian, Bragg-Sitton, Shannon M, Ruth, Mark, Levie, Daniel, Frew, Bethany, Elgowainy, Amgad, and Hawkins, Troy. Sun . "Evaluation of Hydrogen Production Feasibility for a Light Water Reactor in the Midwest". United States. doi:10.2172/1569271. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1569271.
@article{osti_1569271,
title = {Evaluation of Hydrogen Production Feasibility for a Light Water Reactor in the Midwest},
author = {Frick, Konor L and Talbot, Paul W and Wendt, Daniel S and Boardman, Richard D and Rabiti, Cristian and Bragg-Sitton, Shannon M and Ruth, Mark and Levie, Daniel and Frew, Bethany and Elgowainy, Amgad and Hawkins, Troy},
abstractNote = {Increased electricity production from renewable energy resources coupled with low natural gas prices has caused existing light-water reactor (LWRs) to experience ever diminishing returns from the electricity market. Via partnership among Idaho National Laboratory (INL), The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Exelon, and Fuel Cell Energy a techno-economic analysis on the viability of retrofitting existing pressurized water reactors (PWRs) to produce hydrogen (H2) via high temperature steam electrolysis (HTSE) has been conducted. Such integration would allow nuclear facilities to expand into additional markets that may be more profitable in the long-term. To accommodate such an integration, a detailed analysis of HTSE process operation, requirements, and flexibility was conducted. Technical analysis includes proposed nuclear system control scheme modifications to allow dynamic operation of the HTSE via both thermal and electrical connection to the nuclear plant. High fidelity Modelica simulations showcase the viability of such control schemes. However, due to limited knowledge of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack degradation due to thermal gradients; thermal cycling of the HTSE was not included. Therefore, the control schemes proposed are only utilized to re-distribute steam at startup and only the portion of electricity utilized in the electrolyzers is cycled. From the detailed analysis of the nuclear integration and the HTSE process design, a comprehensive cost estimation was conducted in the APEA and H2A models to elucidate capital and operational costs associated with the production, compression, and distribution of hydrogen from a nuclear facility. Alongside this costing analysis, market analyses were conducted by NREL and ANL on the electric and hydrogen markets respectively in the PJM interconnect. Utilizing the electricity data market projections in the PJM interconnect from NREL and hydrogen demand/pricing projections from ANL a five variable sweep over component capacities, discount rates, and hydrogen pricing was completed using the stochastic framework RAVEN (Risk Analysis Virtual ENVironment) through its resource dispatch plugin HERON (Heuristic Energy Resource Optimization Network). Each combination of variables was evaluated stochastically four times over a seventeen year timespan from 2026-2042 (inclusive) to determine the most economically advantageous solution. Following the five variable sweep an optimization was conducted about the best sweep point to determine optimal component sizing and setpoints. Results suggest positive gain is achievable at all projected hydrogen market pricing levels and at all discount rates. However, exact component sizing and net returns vary based on these values and if incorrect sizing is selected; major net losses can occur. The optimal result occurred with set points as follows: high hydrogen prices, the largest possible HTSE unit in the sweep set at 7.47 kg/sec [645.4 tpd], a contractual hydrogen market agreement 7.29 kg/sec [629.8 tpd], and a hydrogen storage size 115,188 kg. The analysis suggested that with a discount rate of 8% the ?NPV = 1.2 billion over the seventeen year span. The results illuminate that by operating in multiple markets the nuclear facility is capable of avoiding sale of electricity during times of low electricity market pricing, while maintaining the ability to capitalize on the high electricity market pricing. It should be noted that the analysis conducted in this report is a differential cash flow analysis and as such does not present profit levels. Instead it highlights the net benefit between building and competing in the hydrogen market utilizing nuclear facilities and conducting business as usual in the electricity markets. Additionally, results presented in this report exhibit conservatism due to four key assumptions: Given the limited knowledge on SOFC stack degradation due to thermal gradients the high temperature steam electrolysis plant is not allowed to thermally cycle. This limitation decreases electricity generation capacity in the nuclear plant, reducing capacity payments and the maximum output to the electrical grid. This analysis considers building a separate hydrogen pipeline for use in the nuclear facility. Research is currently being conducted to determine if existing natural gas pipelines can accommodate direct hydrogen injection. If hydrogen can be integrated into existing natural gas pipelines then a capital savings of ~$19,000,000 per kg/sec [1 kg/sec = 86.4 tpd] of installed HTSE capacity could be realized. Fast transients in the electric grid are typically served by flywheels and electric batteries. With electrolysis only operation the nuclear plant can flex its electricity just as quickly. However, for the analysis the ancillary services market has been neglected. Should the nuclear plant have the ability to operate in the ancillary servic},
doi = {10.2172/1569271},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {9}
}

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