Hydrogen Generation

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Hydrogen Generation

Nuclear energy will be key to the clean, economical, large-scale production of hydrogen from water as a fuel for transportation and industry.

Problems inherent with fossil fuels are avoided with energy production using hydrogen. Per unit of fuel, hydrogen fuel cells in vehicles are about twice as efficient as combustion energies. Unlike conventional engines, fuel cells emit only water vapor and heat. Sixty million tons of hydrogen are produced for global consumption per year. The goal of the U.S. Department of Energy is for hydrogen to produce 10% of our total energy demand by 2030.

When used as an energy carrier, 9 million tons of hydrogen could power 20-30 million cars or 5-8 million homes. If we develop the production of hydrogen fuel to its full potential, we can reduce our demand for oil by over 11 million barrels per day by the year 2040. Only nuclear energy can produce hydrogen at large enough scales to meet future demand while avoiding the release of greenhouse gases.

Hydrogen Technologies

  • Electrolysis –Electrolyzing water, splitting the hydrogen from the oxygen, is a mature technology and is used primarily for the production of high purity oxygen and hydrogen.
  • Steam Reforming – Sometimes called fossil fuel reforming is a method for hydrogen production or other useful products from hydrocarbon fuels such as natural gas. Steam reforming of methane accounts for nearly all the 50 million tons of hydrogen used world-wide for ammonia based fertilizers and oil product enhancement.
  • Thermo Chemical Processes –Hydrogen produced by high temperature thermo-chemical processes has not been demonstrated on a commercial scale but promises high efficiency production in the future.

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