HIGH EFFICIENCY GENERATION OF HYDROGEN FUELS USING NUCLEAR POWER

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OAK B202 HIGH EFFICIENCY GENERATION OF HYDROGEN FUELS USING NUCLEAR POWER. Combustion of fossil fuels, used to power transportation, generate electricity, heat homes and fuel industry provides 86% of the world's energy. Drawbacks to fossil fuel utilization include limited supply, pollution, and carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions, thought to be responsible for global warming, are now the subject of international treaties. Together, these drawbacks argue for the replacement of fossil fuels with a less-polluting potentially renewable primary energy such as nuclear energy. Conventional nuclear plants readily generate electric power but fossil fuels are firmly entrenched in the transportation sector. ... continued below

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343 pages

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BROWN,LC; BESENBRUCH,GE; LENTSCH,RD; SCHULTZ,KR; FUNK,JF; PICKARD,PS et al. June 1, 2003.

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Description

OAK B202 HIGH EFFICIENCY GENERATION OF HYDROGEN FUELS USING NUCLEAR POWER. Combustion of fossil fuels, used to power transportation, generate electricity, heat homes and fuel industry provides 86% of the world's energy. Drawbacks to fossil fuel utilization include limited supply, pollution, and carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions, thought to be responsible for global warming, are now the subject of international treaties. Together, these drawbacks argue for the replacement of fossil fuels with a less-polluting potentially renewable primary energy such as nuclear energy. Conventional nuclear plants readily generate electric power but fossil fuels are firmly entrenched in the transportation sector. Hydrogen is an environmentally attractive transportation fuel that has the potential to displace fossil fuels. Hydrogen will be particularly advantageous when coupled with fuel cells. Fuel cells have higher efficiency than conventional battery/internal combustion engine combinations and do not produce nitrogen oxides during low-temperature operation. Contemporary hydrogen production is primarily based on fossil fuels and most specifically on natural gas. When hydrogen is produced using energy derived from fossil fuels, there is little or no environmental advantage. There is currently no large scale, cost-effective, environmentally attractive hydrogen production process available for commercialization, nor has such a process been identified. The objective of this work is to find an economically feasible process for the production of hydrogen, by nuclear means, using an advanced high-temperature nuclear reactor as the primary energy source. Hydrogen production by thermochemical water-splitting (Appendix A), a chemical process that accomplishes the decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen using only heat or, in the case of a hybrid thermochemical process, by a combination of heat and electrolysis, could meet these goals. Hydrogen produced from fossil fuels has trace contaminants (primarily carbon monoxide) that are detrimental to precious metal catalyzed fuel cells, as is now recognized by many of the world's largest automobile companies. Thermochemical hydrogen will not contain carbon monoxide as an impurity at any level. Electrolysis, the alternative process for producing hydrogen using nuclear energy, suffers from thermodynamic inefficiencies in both the production of electricity and in electrolytic parts of the process. The efficiency of electrolysis (electricity to hydrogen) is currently about 80%. Electric power generation efficiency would have to exceed 65% (thermal to electrical) for the combined efficiency to exceed the 52% (thermal to hydrogen) calculated for one thermochemical cycle. Thermochemical water-splitting cycles have been studied, at various levels of effort, for the past 35 years. They were extensively studied in the late 70s and early 80s but have received little attention in the past 10 years, particularly in the U.S. While there is no question about the technical feasibility and the potential for high efficiency, cycles with proven low cost and high efficiency have yet to be developed commercially. Over 100 cycles have been proposed, but substantial research has been executed on only a few. This report describes work accomplished during a three-year project whose objective is to ''define an economically feasible concept for production of hydrogen, by nuclear means, using an advanced high temperature nuclear reactor as the energy source.'' The emphasis of the first phase was to evaluate thermochemical processes which offer the potential for efficient, cost-effective, large-scale production of hydrogen from water in which the primary energy input is high temperature heat from an advanced nuclear reactor and to select one (or, at most three) for further detailed consideration. During Phase 1, an exhaustive literature search was performed to locate all cycles previously proposed. The cycles located were screened using objective criteria to determine which could benefit, in terms of efficiency and cost, from the high-temperature capabilities of advanced nuclear reactors. The more promising cycles were then analyzed in depth as to their adaptability to advanced high-temperature nuclear reactors. As a result, the Sulfur-Iodine (S-I) cycle was selected for integration into the advanced nuclear reactor system. In Phases 2 and 3, alternative flowsheets were developed and compared. This effort entailed a considerable effort into developing the solution thermodynamics pertinent to the S-I cycle.

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343 pages

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OSTI as DE00814014

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Jun 2003

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  • Report No.: NONE
  • Grant Number: FG03-99SF21888
  • DOI: 10.2172/814014 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 814014
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc733649

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  • June 1, 2003

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  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • Jan. 4, 2017, 1:49 p.m.

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BROWN,LC; BESENBRUCH,GE; LENTSCH,RD; SCHULTZ,KR; FUNK,JF; PICKARD,PS et al. HIGH EFFICIENCY GENERATION OF HYDROGEN FUELS USING NUCLEAR POWER, report, June 1, 2003; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc733649/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.