NuScale Power announced updated evaluations for the technical feasibility and economics of producing hydrogen using heat and electricity from a NuScale Power Module™ (NPM) as a result of the recent announcement that an NPM can generate an additional 25 percent more power per module for a total of 250 MWt (or 77 MWe) per module. The hydrogen study was originally conducted in 2014 with the Idaho National Laboratory and has been updated with new production and economic parameters.
The updated analysis found that with the 25 percent increase in power output of an NPM, one 250 MWt NuScale module is capable of producing 2,053 kg/hour of hydrogen, or nearly 50 metric tons per day, an increase from 1,667 kg/hour of hydrogen or 40 metric tons per day for a 200 MWt NuScale module. Moreover, as a result of the lower levelized cost of electricity from the increased power output, hydrogen produced by a NuScale high-temperature steam electrolysis (HTSE) system is forecasted to be cost competitive with high capacity factor renewable hydrogen cost estimates while also providing continuous, controlled hydrogen production.
“The ability of our NPM to now produce even more clean hydrogen, in a smaller footprint, is yet another example of how NuScale’s technology can help decarbonize various sectors of the economy while providing additional revenue streams for customers,” said Dr. José Reyes, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of NuScale Power. “Coupled with our proven design, unparalleled safety, and load following capabilities, this analysis further demonstrates that NuScale’s design is the gold standard in helping meet the demand for innovative solutions to challenging global energy needs.”
In the analysis, energy from a single NPM in the form of superheated steam and electricity are directly routed to a HTSE system operating at 850°C. Only 2 percent of the electrical output (~1.8 MWe) of the NPM is used to increase the process steam temperature from 300°C at the NPM outlet to 850°C for the electrolyzer. NuScale’s innovative multi-module power plant design means that a NuScale plant could produce reliable clean electricity for the grid while allocating one or more modules to economically produce hydrogen when electricity demand is low.
According to a recent report from LucidCatalyst, in order for the world to meet the Paris goals of keeping warming between 1.5–2°C, sufficient, low-cost, clean hydrogen production is needed to replace oil and gas in shipping, aviation, and industry. Over 95% of the world's hydrogen is currently produced using fossil fuels, with the most common method being steam methane reforming from natural gas. Renewables cannot produce all of this hydrogen alone, and advanced modular reactors will be required to produce enough clean hydrogen to displace the 100 million barrels of oil that are currently consumed around the world each day. Using a single NPM to produce 50 tons of hydrogen per day would avoid about 460 tons of CO2 emissions per day, or 168,000 tons of CO2 per year, as compared to producing hydrogen from natural gas. Additionally, NuScale’s ability to produce clean hydrogen is perfectly suited to assist in decarbonizing transportation, since a single NPM can produce enough hydrogen to power 38,000 fuel cell vehicles or 1,500 long-haul fuel cell trucks at average annual fuel usage rates in the United States.