Canadian institute launches nuclear hydrogen feasibility study

11 June 2021

A Canadian innovation organisation has launched a new study into the role of nuclear power in supporting a growing hydrogen economy. The Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) study will be the first of its kind in Canada to evaluate the technical viability and business case for hydrogen production from emissions-free nuclear power.

(Image: NII)

Work on the study will be led by design, engineering and consultancy company Arcadis, supported by NII and project partners Bruce Power and Greenfield Global. Bruce is a founding members of Ontario-based NII, a not-for-profit organisation set up in 2018 as a platform for accelerating innovation in the Canadian nuclear industry.

"Hydrogen is poised to play a key role in a net-zero future," David Campbell, director of NII's Bruce Power Centre for Next Generation Nuclear, said. "This project will provide a unique exploration of how nuclear power can provide the clean, affordable hydrogen that Ontario will need to continue decarbonizing our economy."

The new study will continue the Centre for Next Generation Nuclear's research into the potential for hydrogen production and use in Ontario, and will investigate the viability of a local pilot project to demonstrate the economics of the technology, in preparation for the rapid growth of the hydrogen economy. It aims to explore the "significant benefits" a hydrogen project could bring to the region, including new export opportunities, trade partnerships between local vendors, and the creation of high-paying jobs. The study will also benefit governments "at all levels" as they work on their own hydrogen strategies, the NII said.

The Canadian government last year launched its Hydrogen Strategy for Canada to spur investment and partnerships to establish Canada as a global supplier of hydrogen. That strategy sees low-carbon and zero-emission hydrogen fuel technology as a key part of the nation's path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Bruce County is "well positioned" to advance the hydrogen economy, the organisations said.

"Thanks to Bruce Power and the nuclear industry, Ontario has a deeply decarbonised electricity system," Bruce Power President and CEO Mike Rencheck said. "We can leverage that system as a competitive advantage to attract new investment in innovation and to decarbonise other sectors of the economy through the production and use of hydrogen as a clean fuel alternative."

Bruce Power previously announced a 2021 initiative to evaluate the opportunity for mass production of hydrogen using nuclear technology and opportunities for alignment with the oil and gas, transportation and electricity generation sectors. Utlilising nuclear power generation for clean fuels and transportation, including a national hydrogen and clean fuels strategy, is one of the five pillars in the company's NZ-2050 strategy to contribute to a net-zero Canada while growing the economy and supporting innovation.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News