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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 18, 2021

According to Richard Boardman, director for Energy and Environment Science and Technology Programs Office at INL, U.S-based initiatives to explore nuclear hydrogen’s potential have focused mainly on industrial uses because the U.S. already has several existing hydrogen pipelines that feed industrial centers. “We believe that having central hydrogen plants based on electrolysis is going to be a great opportunity for us,” Boardman said as he presented a U.S. perspective during a “Hybrid Event” at the 65th International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference on Sept. 21.

Interesting to see how these are the markets that will likely create the initial hydrogen demand, but I wonder if success there and growth in supply will then lead to the capital build out of other outlets (transportation, home gas replacement, etc.)

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Oct 25, 2021

The gas plants near the Palo Verde nuclear station are much better suited for efficiently creating hydrogen using high temperature steam for electrolysis with excess/surplus solar energy providing the electricity for steam electrolysis. The hydrogen gas would be used to fire boiler duct burners that are already routinely used to increase steam production to meet grid peaks. Longer range, the hydrogen could be used as supplemental fuel for the gas turbines.

The nearby gas plants are ideally suited to create hydrogen from surplus renewable energy, store the gas and subsequently use it to cover grid peaks that show up in the evening when solar energy is not available. This energy storage approach is vastly superior to using batteries or nuclear power. Palo Verde should operate as a base load power plant which is what the station was designed for.

Looks like just another DOE/INL waste of taxpayer money chasing economically imprudent adventures using nuclear energy in the wrong application.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jan 10, 2022

Sure, if you want to dump millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year by burning gas, to make steam, to electrolyze water, to create hydrogen, to fire boiler duct burners, to create steam, to generate electricity. To generate electricity as inefficiently as possible.

The only reason to do it that way would be to waste gas so it can be billed to electricity ratepayers. No doubt that would be a lucrative, if unethical, strategy.
 

 

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Jan 12, 2022

The cost to produce hydrogen at Palo Verde vastly exceeds the cost to produce hydrogen at a combined cycle plant, which is where the hydrogen from Palo Verde ends up. The combined cycle plant is nearly twice as efficient as a nuclear plant while the combined-cycle plant’s production costs are about about 1/2 that of a nuclear plant.

Also, the nuclear plant cannot produce steam anywhere near as hot as that produced by the combined-cycle plant. That means the nuclear electrolysis requires more green electrical energy. 

Run the nuclear plant all the time at 100% to produce clean electrical power for Arizona. Use the surplus renewable energy for producing hydrogen at the combined-cycle plant for the combined-cycle plant to meet evening grid peaks by firing the boiler burners with hydrogen. This is by far the most cost effective approach. 

If you divert some nuclear steam for hydrogen production, the cost of nuclear power to the ratepayers will go up - the fixed production costs are distributed over fewer megawatt- hours of sales.


Another angle, the nuclear hydrogen will cost more than if the combined-cycle plant just made it’s own hydrogen.

The combined-cycle plant’s CO2 emissions to produce the electrolysis steam are minor and do not even remotely approach millions of tons per year.

This is all straightforward to calculate. There is no doubt that the DOE Is conducting a publicity stunt with the taxpayer and ratepayer on the short end of the stick.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Mar 3, 2022

"This is all straightforward to calculate."

Good, I await your calculations. Other than anti-government, right-wing conspiracy theories, you have no support for your argument now.

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Mar 9, 2022

For openers, the combined-cycle plants are about 55% efficient, versus around 32% for Palo Verde. Further, the production costs and debt repayment costs for Palo Verde are significantly higher than a combined-cycle plant. Generally, combined-cycle plants have 1/2 the production costs of a nuclear plant. While I am not a big fan of LCOE, the combined-cycle plants have much lower LCOE's when using a variety of different reference sources.  The combined-cycle plants can produce low-pressure steam much more cost effectively than a nuclear plant. Just a fact of economics and the technical as well as thermodynamic characteristics of nuclear and combined-cycle plants. 

Nuclear power plants like Palo Verde operate most efficiently at cost effectively at full load. The machines were not designed for operating at part-load. As I helped design Palo Verde (I worked for Combustion Engineering, the firm that supplied the reactor) I am quite certain I am right. Diverting steam for the production of hydrogen is unhelpful for the plant's economics.

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