Bloom Energy revealed today (August 10) INL researchers have been conducting tests on its solid oxide electrolyser at the Dynamic Energy Testing and Integration Laboratory, including steam and load simulations that replicate nuclear power station conditions.

Having undergone nearly 500 hours of full load operation at the laboratory, the company has said its electrolyser is producing hydrogen up to 45% more efficiently than any other commercially available electrolyser, including PEM and alkaline.

Running at high temperatures, the trial is said to have revealed the Bloom electrolyser is producing hydrogen at 37.7kWh per kg of hydrogen, with 88.5% lower heating value (LHV) to DC.

John Wagner, Director of Idaho National Labs, said, “The Bloom Electrolyser is, without a doubt, the most efficient electrolyser we have tested to-date at INL. When hydrogen is produced from a clean, 24/7 source, like nuclear, it can help us address some of the significant challenges we face around decarbonisation.

“Pairing the research and development capabilities of a national laboratory with innovative and forward-thinking organisations like Bloom Energy is how we make rapidly reducing the costs of clean hydrogen a reality and a real step toward changing the world’s energy future.”

The tests hope to have confirmed the potential for nuclear plants to take a lead role in hydrogen production from electrolysers due to their continuous operation and capability of producing high-quality steam input.

KR Sridhar, founder, Chairman and CEO of Bloom Energy, said, “We are proud to have partnered with Idaho National Laboratory on this landmark demonstration.

“By combining our Bloom Electrolyser with steam, the laboratory has been able to validate that the DC electrical efficiency for our electrolyser is better than any reported commercial or demonstration unit in the world for hydrogen production. This is an important milestone as we work to build a hydrogen economy.”

Bloom Energy is a participant of the newly launched Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative (NHI), a coalition working to advance nuclear-produced hydrogen as a critical climate solution.

Read more: Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative launched with backing of over 40 organisations

Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative: Nuclear hydrogen a key way to meet decarbonisation needs

Today (July 26) saw the launch of the Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative (NHI), which seeks to promote a landscape that will encourage the use of nuclear power generation to produce clean hydrogen.

As a global push to ensues to rapidly scale the production of the clean energy carrier, H2 View spoke to Elina Teplinsky, Partner and Nuclear Energy and Hydrogen Expert at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, participant of the NHI, to learn more about the potential that nuclear power could hold for the hydrogen industry.

H2 View (H2V): Thank you for taking the time to talk to H2 View today. With over 40 organisations behind the launch of the NHI, do you think that shows the desire for nuclear hydrogen moving forward?

Elina Teplinsky (ET): Absolutely. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. A number of organisations started the discussion initially with a workshop that was held at the end of 2020, just to test the interest of the market in this concept, and we actually had more than 400 participants and a strong desire to keep the discussions going.