TÜV UK, Urenco, and the University of Liverpool are the latest to join the alliance with plans to explore the role of nuclear power in the production of low-carbon hydrogen.
Nuclear power can be used to produce hydrogen through electrolysis, where electricity is used to split water molecules to extract hydrogen, or thermochemically using the high temperature heat from the nuclear reactor.
The three new members have experience in developing and using nuclear technologies, with TÜV having worked on projects including the Hamburg Port to drive forward Nuclear New Build and steam methane reformers (SMR), Urenco acting as a long-term supplier to the nuclear industry, and the University of Liverpool being involved in a variety of research programmes, specialising in experimental nuclear physics.
“With a doubling of the hydrogen production target in the UK – and calls for this target to be even more ambitious – we’re going to need a breadth of different technologies to create hydrogen and reach the scale we need,” said Prof. Joe Howe, Chair of the NWHA and Executive Director of the Energy Research Institute at the University of Chester.
Howe added, “Nuclear could play an important role and we’re really pleased to welcome three organisations at the forefront of this agenda to the Alliance. Leveraging a variety of low-carbon sources for hydrogen production will form another significant step in reaching Net Zero.”
Dr. David Bradby, Associate at TÜV UK, commented, “We intend to use our membership of NWHA, coupled with the Northern Nuclear Alliance (NNA) to support the ambition to produce hydrogen from nuclear heat through the development of High Temperature Gas Reactors.”
Peter Bradley, Senior Commercial Manager at Urenco added, “Independent research commissioned by Urenco which focused on the UK energy industry, shows that producing hydrogen through a combination of nuclear and renewables can cut total costs and reduce emissions in a Net Zero energy system by 2050.”
Prof. Anthony Hollander, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research & Impact at University of Liverpool, said, “University of Liverpool has a strong record in the development of hydrogen technologies, and we champion the role of nuclear in hydrogen production. We’re well positioned within the region to directly apply our research expertise and capabilities to support real world applications and Net Zero technologies that will make a real difference.”
Following the launch of the Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative (NHI) in July (2022), Elina Teplinsky, Parner and Nuclear Energy and Hydrogen Expert at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, participant in the NHI, told H2 View that nuclear power could be a key solution to meeting future hydrogen demand.
Teplinsky explained, “To produce the amount of clean hydrogen that we need, we really need to have energy that is reliable and can do so efficiently and do so given land constraints. We think nuclear has those three really important attributes . You can use just existing nuclear power plants, which can divert some of the electricity to hydrogen production, but also produce heat that’s currently wasted. That electricity plus heat can be used to produce hydrogen electrolytically.”
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