Bruce Power-backed hydrogen study wins IESO funding

13 October 2023

The study by Kinectrics and FuelCell Energy, supported by Bruce Power, will explore the potential of using nuclear-generated electricity to produce hydrogen and is one of six projects selected to receive a share of the first CAD7.5 million (USD5.5 million) of funding from the Ontario government's new Hydrogen Innovation Fund.

Minister Todd Smith at the funding announcement on 12 October (Image: Bruce Power)

The province announced in February that it would invest a total of CAD15 million over the next three years to kickstart and develop opportunities for hydrogen to be integrated into Ontario's clean electricity system, including hydrogen storage. The fund is administered by Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and will focus on the opportunities for hydrogen to serve as a clean alternative fuel for transportation and other end uses.

Kinectrics is to receive CAD250,000 for its project to study the feasibility of integrating hydrogen production, hydrogen power generation and a hydrogen fuelling station at a hydrogen hub in Toronto. It will include a techno-economic assessment of hydrogen production as a clean fuel source for heavy-duty vehicles through high-temperature water electrolysis and will explore the use of solid oxide fuel cells for power generation.

As well as seeking to demonstrate the value of hydrogen as an integral part of the electrical grid, and identifying key environmental, safety, regulatory and operational considerations for its deployment, the project will also serve as a pilot for broader deployment at a larger scale including integrating hydrogen systems with nuclear power plants, including small modular reactors, Kinectrics said.

Kinectrics President and CEO David Harris said the company is "well positioned" to conduct the hydrogen study that will produce "valuable insights to support decarbonisation of power" and create "meaningful opportunities to advance hydrogen production and improve grid reliability and flexibility".

"Nuclear power offers numerous advantages such as stable and continuous electricity supply, cost efficiency and carbon-free generation," said Richard Horrobin, vice-president of Business Development and Energy Innovation at Bruce Power. "We are pleased to support Kinectrics and FuelCell Energy as they take this step to explore the potential to use innovative new technology to harness the power of nuclear to produce low-carbon hydrogen."

FuelCell Energy's solid oxide fuel cell platform will form part of the project. "Power generation in Ontario is already among the cleanest in the world, thanks to nuclear energy," said the company's President and CEO Jason Few. "Producing hydrogen from zero carbon electricity allows for decarbonisation of other sectors of the economy as well, including light and heavy duty, rail, sea, and aviation transportation, industrial, and long duration energy storage."

Ontario Minister of Energy Todd Smith said the province can leverage its clean, reliable and affordable electricity system to become a leader in the growing hydrogen economy. "Today's investments, which are part of our larger CAD15 million Hydrogen Innovation Fund, will kickstart new opportunities for hydrogen to be used as a clean fuel, creating new jobs and driving down emissions at the same time."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News