Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory and Ceramatec, Inc. of Salt Lake City are reporting a significant development in their efforts to help the nation advance toward a clean hydrogen economy.
Laboratory teams have announced they’ve achieved a major advancement in the production of hydrogen from water using high-temperature electrolysis. Instead of conventional electrolysis, which uses only electric current to separate hydrogen from water, high-temperature electrolysis enhances the efficiency of the process by adding substantial external heat – such as high-temperature steam from an advanced nuclear reactor system. Such a high-temperature system has the potential to achieve overall conversion efficiencies in the 45 percent to 50 percent range, compared to approximately 30 percent for conventional electrolysis. Added benefits include the avoidance of both greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption.
“We’ve shown that hydrogen can be produced at temperatures and pressures suitable for a Generation IV reactor,” said lead INEEL researcher Steve Herring. “The simple and modular approach we’ve taken with our research partners produces either hydrogen or electricity, and most notable of all – achieves the highest-known production rate of hydrogen by high-temperature electrolysis.”
Teri Ehresman | EurekAlert!
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