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Title: Nuclear-Driven Copper-Based Hybrid Thermo/Electro Chemical Cycle for Hydrogen Production

Abstract

With a worldwide need for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, hydrogen gas has become a primary focus of energy researchers as a promising substitute of nonrenewable energy sources. For instance, use of hydrogen gas in fuel cells has received special technological interest particularly from the transportation sector, which is presently dominated by fuel oil. It is not only gaseous hydrogen that is in demand, but the need for liquid hydrogen is growing as well. For example, the aerospace industry uses liquid hydrogen as fuel for space shuttles. The use of liquid hydrogen during a single space shuttle launch requires about 15,000 gallons per minute, which is equivalent to about forty-five hydrogen trailers, each with 13,000 gallons capacity. The hydrogen required to support a single Mars mission would be at least ten times that required for one space shuttle launch. In this work, we provide mass and energy balances, major equipment sizing, and costing of a hybrid CuO-CuSO{sub 4} plant with 1000 MW (30,240 kg/hr) H{sub 2} production capacity. With a 90% annual availability factor, the estimated hydrogen production rate is about 238,412 tons annually, the predicted plant efficiency is about 36%, and the estimated hydrogen production cost is about $4.0/kgmore » (not including storage and transportation costs). In addition to hydrogen production, the proposed plant generates oxygen gas as a byproduct with an estimated flowrate of about 241,920 kg/hr (equivalent to 1,907,297 tons annually). We also propose a novel technology for separating SO{sub 2} and SO{sub 3} from O{sub 2} using a battery of redundant fixed-bed reactors containing CuO impregnated in porous alumina (Al{sub 2}O{sub 3}). This technology accommodates online regeneration of the CuO. Other practical approaches for gaseous separation are also examined including use of ceramic membranes, liquefaction, and regenerable wet scrubbing with slurried magnesium oxide or solutions of sodium salts such as sodium sulfite and sodium hydroxide. Finally, we discuss the applicability of high-temperature nuclear reactors as an ideal fit to providing thermal energy and electricity required for operating the hybrid thermochemical plant with high overall system efficiency. (authors)« less

Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511 (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
The ASME Foundation, Inc., Three Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016-5990 (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
20995554
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 14. international conference on nuclear engineering (ICONE 14), Miami, FL (United States), 17-20 Jul 2006; Other Information: Country of input: France
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; ALUMINIUM OXIDES; COPPER; COPPER OXIDES; COPPER SULFATES; FUEL OILS; GREENHOUSE GASES; HYDROGEN; HYDROGEN PRODUCTION; INTERSTITIAL HYDROGEN GENERATION; LIQUIDS; MAGNESIUM OXIDES; SODIUM; SODIUM HYDROXIDES; SPACE SHUTTLES; SULFITES; SULFUR DIOXIDE

Citation Formats

Khalil, Yehia F., and Rostkowski, Katherine H.. Nuclear-Driven Copper-Based Hybrid Thermo/Electro Chemical Cycle for Hydrogen Production. United States: N. p., 2006. Web.
Khalil, Yehia F., & Rostkowski, Katherine H.. Nuclear-Driven Copper-Based Hybrid Thermo/Electro Chemical Cycle for Hydrogen Production. United States.
Khalil, Yehia F., and Rostkowski, Katherine H.. 2006. "Nuclear-Driven Copper-Based Hybrid Thermo/Electro Chemical Cycle for Hydrogen Production". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_20995554,
title = {Nuclear-Driven Copper-Based Hybrid Thermo/Electro Chemical Cycle for Hydrogen Production},
author = {Khalil, Yehia F. and Rostkowski, Katherine H.},
abstractNote = {With a worldwide need for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, hydrogen gas has become a primary focus of energy researchers as a promising substitute of nonrenewable energy sources. For instance, use of hydrogen gas in fuel cells has received special technological interest particularly from the transportation sector, which is presently dominated by fuel oil. It is not only gaseous hydrogen that is in demand, but the need for liquid hydrogen is growing as well. For example, the aerospace industry uses liquid hydrogen as fuel for space shuttles. The use of liquid hydrogen during a single space shuttle launch requires about 15,000 gallons per minute, which is equivalent to about forty-five hydrogen trailers, each with 13,000 gallons capacity. The hydrogen required to support a single Mars mission would be at least ten times that required for one space shuttle launch. In this work, we provide mass and energy balances, major equipment sizing, and costing of a hybrid CuO-CuSO{sub 4} plant with 1000 MW (30,240 kg/hr) H{sub 2} production capacity. With a 90% annual availability factor, the estimated hydrogen production rate is about 238,412 tons annually, the predicted plant efficiency is about 36%, and the estimated hydrogen production cost is about $4.0/kg (not including storage and transportation costs). In addition to hydrogen production, the proposed plant generates oxygen gas as a byproduct with an estimated flowrate of about 241,920 kg/hr (equivalent to 1,907,297 tons annually). We also propose a novel technology for separating SO{sub 2} and SO{sub 3} from O{sub 2} using a battery of redundant fixed-bed reactors containing CuO impregnated in porous alumina (Al{sub 2}O{sub 3}). This technology accommodates online regeneration of the CuO. Other practical approaches for gaseous separation are also examined including use of ceramic membranes, liquefaction, and regenerable wet scrubbing with slurried magnesium oxide or solutions of sodium salts such as sodium sulfite and sodium hydroxide. Finally, we discuss the applicability of high-temperature nuclear reactors as an ideal fit to providing thermal energy and electricity required for operating the hybrid thermochemical plant with high overall system efficiency. (authors)},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2006,
month = 7
}

Conference:
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  • Two Sulfur-based cycles--the Sulfur-Iodine (SI) and the Hybrid Sulfur (HyS)--have emerged as the leading thermochemical water-splitting processes for producing hydrogen utilizing the heat from advanced nuclear reactors. Numerous international efforts have been underway for several years to develop the SI Cycle, but development of the HyS Cycle has lagged. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the background, current status, recent development results, and the future potential for this thermochemical process. Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) has been supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy, Science, and Technology since 2004 to evaluate and to conductmore » research and development for the HyS Cycle. Process design studies and flowsheet optimization have shown that an overall plant efficiency (based on nuclear heat converted to hydrogen product, higher heating value basis) of over 50% is possible with this cycle. Economic studies indicate that a nuclear hydrogen plant based on this process can be economically competitive, assuming that the key component, the sulfur dioxide-depolarized electrolyzer, can be successfully developed. SRNL has recently demonstrated the use of a proton-exchange-membrane electrochemical cell to perform this function, thus holding promise for economical and efficient hydrogen production.« less
  • Two Sulfur cycles - the Sulfur-Iodine (SI) and the Hybrid Sulfur (HyS) - have emerged as the leading thermochemical processes for making hydrogen using heat provided by advanced nuclear reactors. Numerous international efforts have been underway for several years to develop the SI cycle, but development of the HyS has lagged behind. Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) has been tasked by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology with development of the HyS cycle since 2004. This paper discusses the background, current status, recent development results, and the future potential for the HyS process. Processmore » design studies suggest that a net thermal efficiency of over 50% (higher heating value basis) is possible with HyS. Economic studies indicate that a nuclear hydrogen plant based on this process can be economically competitive, assuming that the sulfur dioxide-depolarized electrolyzer can be successfully developed. SRNL has demonstrated the use of a proton exchange membrane cell to perform this function, thus holding promise for economic and efficient hydrogen production. (authors)« less
  • Thermochemical hydrogen production is a laboratory-proved concept and the subject of continuing research in the United States and Europe. For the process heat source generally assumed (HTR's) the limiting, second-law efficiency is about 69%, while for solar high temperature concentrators this limitation may go as high as 86%. The hybrid copper oxide--copper sulfate cycle, under development at IGT, uses a very high temperature endothermic process and appears to be very attractive from the point of view of process separations and process materials requirements. A base-case flowsheet efficiency of 37.1% has been calculated.