Collaborators to develop SMR-based hydrogen production concept

01 December 2022

NuScale Power, Shell Global Solutions and research participants including Idaho National Laboratory, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), Fuel Cell Energy, FPoliSolutions, and GSE Solutions will develop a clean hydrogen production system for use in small modular reactor (SMR) power plants.

(Image: Pixabay)

A newly signed collaboration agreement provides for a two-phase project to develop and demonstrate a concept for an economically optimised integrated energy system (IES) for hydrogen production using electricity and process heat from a NuScale VOYGR SMR plant.

NuScale's SMR technology is based on the NuScale Power Module, a pressurised water reactor with all the components for steam generation and heat exchange incorporated into a single unit generating 77 MWe. Plants based on the module are known as VOYGR, and are scalable to meet customer needs. NuScale's 12-module offering, the VOYGR-12 power plant, is capable of generating 924 MWe.

The flexibility of the technology means NuScale SMRs could help balance and stabilise power grids dominated by renewable energies by producing hydrogen, the company said. Hydrogen could be used as an end-product at times when energy demand is high and renewable energy production is low, or as a stored energy source to be processed through a reversible solid oxide fuel cell (RSOFC) for electricity generation.

"Hydrogen has been identified as a pathway for global decarbonisation and NuScale's SMR technology complements this goal through low carbon hydrogen production," NuScale President and CEO John Hopkins said.

A NuScale control room simulator will be modified to evaluate the dynamics of the IES and will include models for the solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) system for hydrogen production, in addition to a RSOFC for electricity production. The research will consider the number of NuScale Power Modules needed for use in SOEC hydrogen production and the quantity of hydrogen stored for electricity production. In addition, local economic factors from the UAMPS Carbon Free Power Project - a plant based on six VOYGR modules, generating 462 MWe, which is to be built near Idaho Falls, Idaho - will be assessed.

"We are pleased to join this collaboration, which is in line with our efforts to explore technologies that have the potential to enable decarbonisation and support the energy transition," said Dirk Smit, Vice President of Research Strategy at Shell.

Anglo-Dutch company Shell, now headquartered in London, is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies. Its Renewables and Energy Solutions business focuses on finding commercial ways to meet energy needs from solutions including hydrogen, renewable and low-carbon sources such as wind, solar and natural gas and decarbonisation options including nature-based solutions and carbon capture and storage.

Last month, at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, NuScale announced it had joined the United Nations 24/7 Carbon-free Energy Compact, a global community of organisations collaborating to develop solutions that enable access to 24/7 carbon-free energy. "It cannot be emphasised enough - decarbonisation is a global movement that requires cross-collaboration," Hopkins said at the time.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News