One of the key technology challenges in the development of water splitting technologies is the requirement for high temperature process heat. High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors (HTGRs) can supply this heat, but challenges multiply as the reactor outlet temperature, and therefore the maximum process temperature rises. A reasonable implementation strategy for applying HTGRs to these technologies would be to begin with a reactor outlet and a maximum process temperature that is achievable with today’s technology and increase those temperatures in stages as improved technology emerges. This paper investigates what those temperatures should be in the first commercial demonstration by examining the effect of these temperatures on the cost of production of hydrogen. Parameters investigated include the fundamental thermodynamic limits of each technology, reaction kinetics, materials of construction cost, process complexity, component expected life, and availability. Based on this study, comparisons are made between the leading water splitting technologies and the advantages and disadvantages of each are explained.

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