Economic Analysis of the Reference Design for a Nuclear-Driven High-Temperature-Electrolysis Hydrogen Production Plant

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A reference design for a commercial-scale high-temperature electrolysis (HTE) plant for hydrogen production was developed to provide a basis for comparing the HTE concept with other hydrogen production concepts. The reference plant design is driven by a high-temperature helium-cooled reactor coupled to a direct Brayton power cycle. The reference design reactor power is 600 MWt, with a primary system pressure of 7.0 MPa, and reactor inlet and outlet fluid temperatures of 540°C and 900°C, respectively. The electrolysis unit used to produce hydrogen consists of 4,009,177 cells with a per-cell active area of 225 cm2. A nominal cell area-specific resistance, ASR, ... continued below

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Harvego, E. A.; McKellar, M. G.; Sohal, M. S.; O'Brien, J. E. & Herring, J. S. January 1, 2008.

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A reference design for a commercial-scale high-temperature electrolysis (HTE) plant for hydrogen production was developed to provide a basis for comparing the HTE concept with other hydrogen production concepts. The reference plant design is driven by a high-temperature helium-cooled reactor coupled to a direct Brayton power cycle. The reference design reactor power is 600 MWt, with a primary system pressure of 7.0 MPa, and reactor inlet and outlet fluid temperatures of 540°C and 900°C, respectively. The electrolysis unit used to produce hydrogen consists of 4,009,177 cells with a per-cell active area of 225 cm2. A nominal cell area-specific resistance, ASR, value of 0.4 Ohm•cm2 with a current density of 0.25 A/cm2 was used, and isothermal boundary conditions were assumed. The optimized design for the reference hydrogen production plant operates at a system pressure of 5.0 MPa, and utilizes an air-sweep system to remove the excess oxygen that is evolved on the anode side of the electrolyzer. The inlet air for the air-sweep system is compressed to the system operating pressure of 5.0 MPa in a four-stage compressor with intercooling. The alternating current, AC, to direct current, DC, conversion is 96%. The overall system thermal-to-hydrogen production efficiency (based on the low heating value of the produced hydrogen) is 47.12% at a hydrogen production rate of 2.356 kg/s. An economic analysis of the plant was also performed using the H2A Analysis Methodology developed by the Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program. 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 using realistic financial and cost estimating assumptions. A required cost of $3.23 per kg of hydrogen produced was calculated assuming an internal rate of return of 10%. Approximately 73% of this cost ($2.36/kg) is the result of capital costs associated with the construction of the combined nuclear plant and hydrogen production facility. Operation and maintenance costs represent about 18% of the total cost ($0.57/kg). Variable costs (including the cost of nuclear fuel) contribute about 8.7% ($0.28/kg) to the total cost of hydrogen production, and decommissioning and raw material costs make up the remaining fractional cost.

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  • Report No.: INL/EXT-08-13799
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • DOI: 10.2172/933186 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 933186
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc895976

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  • January 1, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Nov. 7, 2016, 4:07 p.m.

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Harvego, E. A.; McKellar, M. G.; Sohal, M. S.; O'Brien, J. E. & Herring, J. S. Economic Analysis of the Reference Design for a Nuclear-Driven High-Temperature-Electrolysis Hydrogen Production Plant, report, January 1, 2008; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc895976/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.