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Title: Economic Analysis of a Nuclear Reactor Powered High-Temperature Electrolysis Hydrogen Production Plant

Abstract

A reference design for a commercial-scale high-temperature electrolysis (HTE) plant for hydrogen production was developed to provide a basis for comparing the HTE concept with other hydrogen production concepts. The reference plant design is driven by a high-temperature helium-cooled nuclear reactor coupled to a direct Brayton power cycle. The reference design reactor power is 600 MWt, with a primary system pressure of 7.0 MPa, and reactor inlet and outlet fluid temperatures of 540°C and 900°C, respectively. The electrolysis unit used to produce hydrogen includes 4,009,177 cells with a per-cell active area of 225 cm2. The optimized design for the reference hydrogen production plant operates at a system pressure of 5.0 MPa, and utilizes an air-sweep system to remove the excess oxygen that is evolved on the anode (oxygen) side of the electrolyzer. The inlet air for the air-sweep system is compressed to the system operating pressure of 5.0 MPa in a four-stage compressor with intercooling. The alternating-current, AC, to direct-current, DC, conversion efficiency is 96%. The overall system thermal-to-hydrogen production efficiency (based on the lower heating value of the produced hydrogen) is 47.12% at a hydrogen production rate of 2.356 kg/s. An economic analysis of this plant was performed usingmore » the standardized H2A Analysis Methodology developed by the Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program, and using realistic financial and cost estimating assumptions. The results of the economic analysis demonstrated that the HTE hydrogen production plant driven by a high-temperature helium-cooled nuclear power plant can deliver hydrogen at a competitive cost. A cost of $3.23/kg of hydrogen was calculated assuming an internal rate of return of 10%.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE - NE
OSTI Identifier:
933180
Report Number(s):
INL/CON-08-13950
TRN: US0803757
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-99ID-13727
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Energy Sustainability 2008,Jacksonville, Florida,08/10/2008,08/14/2008
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; AIR; ALTERNATING CURRENT; ANODES; COMPRESSORS; DESIGN; DIRECT CURRENT; ECONOMIC ANALYSIS; EFFICIENCY; ELECTROLYSIS; HEATING; HYDROGEN; HYDROGEN PRODUCTION; INTERSTITIAL HYDROGEN GENERATION; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; OXYGEN; PRODUCTION; REACTORS; high-temperature electrolysis; hydrogen production plant

Citation Formats

E. A. Harvego, M. G. McKellar, M. S. Sohal, J. E. O'Brien, and J. S. Herring. Economic Analysis of a Nuclear Reactor Powered High-Temperature Electrolysis Hydrogen Production Plant. United States: N. p., 2008. Web. doi:10.2172/933186.
E. A. Harvego, M. G. McKellar, M. S. Sohal, J. E. O'Brien, & J. S. Herring. Economic Analysis of a Nuclear Reactor Powered High-Temperature Electrolysis Hydrogen Production Plant. United States. doi:10.2172/933186.
E. A. Harvego, M. G. McKellar, M. S. Sohal, J. E. O'Brien, and J. S. Herring. Fri . "Economic Analysis of a Nuclear Reactor Powered High-Temperature Electrolysis Hydrogen Production Plant". United States. doi:10.2172/933186. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/933180.
@article{osti_933180,
title = {Economic Analysis of a Nuclear Reactor Powered High-Temperature Electrolysis Hydrogen Production Plant},
author = {E. A. Harvego and M. G. McKellar and M. S. Sohal and J. E. O'Brien and J. S. Herring},
abstractNote = {A reference design for a commercial-scale high-temperature electrolysis (HTE) plant for hydrogen production was developed to provide a basis for comparing the HTE concept with other hydrogen production concepts. The reference plant design is driven by a high-temperature helium-cooled nuclear reactor coupled to a direct Brayton power cycle. The reference design reactor power is 600 MWt, with a primary system pressure of 7.0 MPa, and reactor inlet and outlet fluid temperatures of 540°C and 900°C, respectively. The electrolysis unit used to produce hydrogen includes 4,009,177 cells with a per-cell active area of 225 cm2. The optimized design for the reference hydrogen production plant operates at a system pressure of 5.0 MPa, and utilizes an air-sweep system to remove the excess oxygen that is evolved on the anode (oxygen) side of the electrolyzer. The inlet air for the air-sweep system is compressed to the system operating pressure of 5.0 MPa in a four-stage compressor with intercooling. The alternating-current, AC, to direct-current, DC, conversion efficiency is 96%. The overall system thermal-to-hydrogen production efficiency (based on the lower heating value of the produced hydrogen) is 47.12% at a hydrogen production rate of 2.356 kg/s. An economic analysis of this plant was performed using the standardized H2A Analysis Methodology developed by the Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program, and using realistic financial and cost estimating assumptions. The results of the economic analysis demonstrated that the HTE hydrogen production plant driven by a high-temperature helium-cooled nuclear power plant can deliver hydrogen at a competitive cost. A cost of $3.23/kg of hydrogen was calculated assuming an internal rate of return of 10%.},
doi = {10.2172/933186},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2008},
month = {Fri Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2008}
}

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  • A reference design for a commercial-scale high-temperature electrolysis (HTE) plant for hydrogen production was developed to provide a basis for comparing the HTE concept with other hydrogen production concepts. The reference plant design is driven by a high-temperature helium-cooled nuclear reactor coupled to a direct Brayton power cycle. The reference design reactor power is 600 MWt, with a primary system pressure of 7.0 MPa, and reactor inlet and outlet fluid temperatures of 540°C and 900°C, respectively. The electrolysis unit used to produce hydrogen includes 4,009,177 cells with a per-cell active area of 225 cm2. The optimized design for the referencemore » hydrogen production plant operates at a system pressure of 5.0 MPa, and utilizes an air-sweep system to remove the excess oxygen that is evolved on the anode (oxygen) side of the electrolyzer. The inlet air for the air-sweep system is compressed to the system operating pressure of 5.0 MPa in a four-stage compressor with intercooling. The alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) conversion efficiency is 96%. The overall system thermal-to-hydrogen production efficiency (based on the lower heating value of the produced hydrogen) is 47.1% at a hydrogen production rate of 2.356 kg/s. An economic analysis of this plant was performed using the standardized H2A Analysis Methodology developed by the Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program, and using realistic financial and cost estimating assumptions. The results of the economic analysis demonstrated that the HTE hydrogen production plant driven by a high-temperature helium-cooled nuclear power plant can deliver hydrogen at a competitive cost. A cost of $3.23/kg of hydrogen was calculated assuming an internal rate of return of 10%.« less
  • A design for a commercial-scale high-temperature electrolysis (HTE) plant for hydrogen production has been developed. The HTE plant is powered by a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) whose configuration and operating conditions are based on the latest design parameters planned for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP). The current HTGR reference design specifies a reactor power of 600 MWt, with a primary system pressure of 7.0 MPa, and reactor inlet and outlet fluid temperatures of 322°C and 750°C, respectively. The power conversion unit will be a Rankine steam cycle with a power conversion efficiency of 40%. The reference hydrogen production plantmore » operates at a system pressure of 5.0 MPa, and utilizes a steam-sweep system to remove the excess oxygen that is evolved on the anode (oxygen) side of the electrolyzer. The overall system thermal-to-hydrogen production efficiency (based on the higher heating value of the produced hydrogen) is 40.4% at a hydrogen production rate of 1.75 kg/s and an oxygen production rate of 13.8 kg/s. An economic analysis of this plant was performed with realistic financial and cost estimating assumptions. The results of the economic analysis demonstrated that the HTE hydrogen production plant driven by a high-temperature helium-cooled nuclear power plant can deliver hydrogen at a cost of $3.67/kg of hydrogen assuming an internal rate of return, IRR, of 12% and a debt to equity ratio of 80%/20%. A second analysis shows that if the power cycle efficiency increases to 44.4%, the hydrogen production efficiency increases to 42.8% and the hydrogen and oxygen production rates are 1.85 kg/s and 14.6 kg/s respectively. At the higher power cycle efficiency and an IRR of 12% the cost of hydrogen production is $3.50/kg.« less
  • An updated reference design for a commercial-scale high-temperature electrolysis (HTE) plant for hydrogen production has been developed. The HTE plant is powered by a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) whose configuration and operating conditions are based on the latest design parameters planned for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP). The current HTGR reference design specifies a reactor power of 600 MWt, with a primary system pressure of 7.0 MPa, and reactor inlet and outlet fluid temperatures of 322°C and 750°C, respectively. The reactor heat is used to produce heat and electric power to the HTE plant. A Rankine steam cycle withmore » a power conversion efficiency of 44.4% was used to provide the electric power. The electrolysis unit used to produce hydrogen includes 1.1 million cells with a per-cell active area of 225 cm2. The reference hydrogen production plant operates at a system pressure of 5.0 MPa, and utilizes a steam-sweep system to remove the excess oxygen that is evolved on the anode (oxygen) side of the electrolyzer. The overall system thermal-to-hydrogen production efficiency (based on the higher heating value of the produced hydrogen) is 42.8% at a hydrogen production rate of 1.85 kg/s (66 million SCFD) and an oxygen production rate of 14.6 kg/s (33 million SCFD). An economic analysis of this plant was performed with realistic financial and cost estimating The results of the economic analysis demonstrated that the HTE hydrogen production plant driven by a high-temperature helium-cooled nuclear power plant can deliver hydrogen at a competitive cost. A cost of $3.03/kg of hydrogen was calculated assuming an internal rate of return of 10% and a debt to equity ratio of 80%/20% for a reactor cost of $2000/kWt and $2.41/kg of hydrogen for a reactor cost of $1400/kWt.« less
  • A reference design for a commercial-scale high-temperature electrolysis (HTE) plant for hydrogen production was developed to provide a basis for comparing the HTE concept with other hydrogen production concepts. The reference plant design is driven by a high-temperature helium-cooled reactor coupled to a direct Brayton power cycle. The reference design reactor power is 600 MWt, with a primary system pressure of 7.0 MPa, and reactor inlet and outlet fluid temperatures of 540°C and 900°C, respectively. The electrolysis unit used to produce hydrogen consists of 4,009,177 cells with a per-cell active area of 225 cm2. A nominal cell area-specific resistance, ASR,more » value of 0.4 Ohm•cm2 with a current density of 0.25 A/cm2 was used, and isothermal boundary conditions were assumed. The optimized design for the reference hydrogen production plant operates at a system pressure of 5.0 MPa, and utilizes an air-sweep system to remove the excess oxygen that is evolved on the anode side of the electrolyzer. The inlet air for the air-sweep system is compressed to the system operating pressure of 5.0 MPa in a four-stage compressor with intercooling. The alternating current, AC, to direct current, DC, conversion is 96%. The overall system thermal-to-hydrogen production efficiency (based on the low heating value of the produced hydrogen) is 47.12% at a hydrogen production rate of 2.356 kg/s. An economic analysis of the plant was also performed using the H2A Analysis Methodology developed by the Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program. The results of the economic analysis demonstrated that the HTE hydrogen production plant driven by a high-temperature helium-cooled nuclear power plant can deliver hydrogen at a competitive cost using realistic financial and cost estimating assumptions. A required cost of $3.23 per kg of hydrogen produced was calculated assuming an internal rate of return of 10%. Approximately 73% of this cost ($2.36/kg) is the result of capital costs associated with the construction of the combined nuclear plant and hydrogen production facility. Operation and maintenance costs represent about 18% of the total cost ($0.57/kg). Variable costs (including the cost of nuclear fuel) contribute about 8.7% ($0.28/kg) to the total cost of hydrogen production, and decommissioning and raw material costs make up the remaining fractional cost.« less
  • The use of High Temperature Electrolysis (HTE) for the efficient production of hydrogen without the greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional fossil-fuel hydrogen production techniques has been under investigation at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INL) for the last several years. The activities at the INL have included the development, testing and analysis of large numbers of solid oxide electrolysis cells, and the analyses of potential plant designs for large scale production of hydrogen using an advanced Very-High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) to provide the process heat and electricity to drive the electrolysis process. The results of these system analyses, usingmore » the UniSim process analysis software, have shown that the HTE process, when coupled to a VHTR capable of operating at reactor outlet temperatures of 800 °C to 950 °C, has the potential to produce the large quantities of hydrogen needed to meet future energy and transportation needs with hydrogen production efficiencies in excess of 50%. In addition, economic analyses performed on the INL reference plant design, optimized to maximize the hydrogen production rate for a 600 MWt VHTR, have shown that a large nuclear-driven HTE hydrogen production plant can to be economically competitive with conventional hydrogen production processes, particularly when the penalties associated with greenhouse gas emissions are considered. The results of this research led to the selection in 2009 of HTE as the preferred concept in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) hydrogen technology down-selection process. However, the down-selection process, along with continued technical assessments at the INL, has resulted in a number of proposed modifications and refinements to improve the original INL reference HTE design. These modifications include changes in plant configuration, operating conditions and individual component designs. This paper describes the resulting new INL reference design and presents results of system analyses performed to optimize the design and to determine required plant performance and operating conditions.« less