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 for the HTE plant. A Rankine steam cycle with 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.
Analysis of a High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor Powered High Temperature Electrolysis Hydrogen Plant
McKellar, MG, Harvego, EA, & Gandrik, AM. "Analysis of a High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor Powered High Temperature Electrolysis Hydrogen Plant." Proceedings of the ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Volume 5: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; NanoEngineering for Energy; Engineering to Address Climate Change, Parts A and B. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. November 12–18, 2010. pp. 865-873. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2010-40627
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