Nuclear to be part of clean hydrogen centers in the United States: energy and environment

October 17, 2023

U.S. President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced seven regional clean hydrogen centers that will share $7 billion in federal funding to accelerate the commercial-scale deployment of low-cost clean hydrogen. Nuclear power appears in the plans for many of them, including a large nuclear-powered clean hydrogen production facility at Constellation’s LaSalle plant in Illinois.

A planned model of a regional H2Hub envisions a network of clean hydrogen producers and consumers and connected infrastructure to support clean hydrogen production, storage, delivery, and end-use (Photo: DOE Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations)

The seven hubs will be funded under a bipartisan infrastructure bill to initiate a national network of clean hydrogen producers and consumers and connected infrastructure while supporting the production, storage, delivery and end-use of clean hydrogen, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). Together, these hubs, known as H2Hubs, are expected to produce 3 million tons of hydrogen annually, reaching nearly a third of the 2030 U.S. hydrogen production goal and cutting emissions from hard-to-decarbonize industrial sectors, resulting in a reduction of 25 million. Tons of end-use carbon emissions every year.

The selected hubs, their regions, and the amounts you will receive are:

  • Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Center (MACH2) covering Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey), which plans to develop renewable hydrogen production facilities from renewable and nuclear electricity using established and innovative electrolysis technologies (up to US$750 million )
  • Appalachian Clean Hydrogen Center (ARCH2 covers West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania), which will leverage natural gas to produce low-cost clean hydrogen and permanently and safely store associated carbon emissions (up to $925 million)
  • The California Hydrogen Center (the Alliance for Clean and Renewable Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCES) covering California) which will leverage clean energy technology to produce hydrogen exclusively from renewable energy and biomass and provide a blueprint for decarbonizing public transportation, heavy trucking and port operations (up to $1.2 billion American dollar)
  • Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub (HyVelocity Hydrogen Hub covering Texas), which plans to produce hydrogen at scale through both natural gas with carbon capture and renewable-powered electrolysis (up to $1.2 billion)
  • The Heartland Hydrogen Center (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota) plans to use regional energy resources — including nuclear power — to help decarbonize fertilizer production, lower the regional cost of clean hydrogen, and promote the use of clean hydrogen in electricity generation and in cold climate spatial heating. (Up to 925 million US dollars)
  • The Midwest Hydrogen Hub (Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MachH2) covering Illinois, Indiana and Michigan) plans to produce hydrogen by leveraging energy sources including renewable energy, natural gas and nuclear to enable decarbonization through strategic hydrogen uses including steel and glass production . Power generation, refining, heavy transportation, and sustainable aviation fuels (up to $1 billion)
  • The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Center (PNW H2 covering Washington, Oregon and Montana) plans to produce clean hydrogen exclusively from renewable sources through the expected widespread use of electrolyzers, which will play a major role in lowering electrolyser costs, making the technology more accessible and reducing the cost. Hydrogen production cost (up to US$1 billion)

The announcement marks one of the largest investments in clean manufacturing and jobs in history, matching federal investment by recipients to leverage a total of nearly $50 billion to boost local economies, create and sustain high-quality jobs, the White House said. Cutting emissions.

“Unlocking the full potential of hydrogen – a versatile fuel that can be made from virtually any energy source in almost every part of the country – is critical to achieving President Biden’s goal of an American industry powered by American clean energy, ensuring lower volatility and affordability.” “Energy choices for American families and businesses,” Granholm said.

Integrated nuclear

Constellation Energy, which earlier this year began operating a first-of-its-kind, 1-MW demonstration facility, a nuclear-powered clean hydrogen production facility at the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Power Plant in New York State, is a major participant in the MachH2 hub. . The company said it will use part of the pivotal financing to build the world’s largest nuclear-powered clean hydrogen production facility at the LaSalle Clean Energy Center in Illinois.

The facility will cost an estimated $900 million, part of which will be offset by the MachH2 award, and will use lessons learned from Nine Mile Point, Constellation said. The project will produce an estimated 33,450 tons of clean hydrogen annually and create thousands of “well-paying” jobs.

Joe Dominguez, Constellation’s president and CEO, said tax breaks like those in the FRA — which allow hydrogen to be produced using carbon-free energy from existing nuclear power plants — are vital if such projects go ahead. “Today’s award is proof positive that DOE and the Department want existing nuclear power to play a vital role in stimulating domestic hydrogen production, and we look forward to Treasury’s final guidance,” he said.

Xcel Energy, part of the Heartland Hydrogen Hub, said it expects to receive a significant portion of the federal award, which is subject to negotiations. In its application, the company proposed investing up to $2 billion over a decade in clean hydrogen production equipment and infrastructure and plans to use its existing and future nuclear, solar and wind resources in the upper Midwest to produce hydrogen for incorporation into power generation. Existing natural gas distribution systems, agricultural and industrial applications. The company owns and operates two nuclear power plants in the region, one boiling water reactor at Monticello and two pressurized water reactors on Prairie Island.

“Clean fuels are critical to enabling economy-wide decarbonization. The Heartland Hydrogen Center is a game-changing initiative that demonstrates how we are accelerating the development of next-generation clean energy technology with significant benefits for our customers and the environment,” said Xcel Energy Chairman, President and CEO Bob Frenzel. .

Maria Korsnik, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, said the announcement was a “pivotal starting point” for nuclear energy’s essential role in achieving clean hydrogen goals. “We are pleased to see nuclear energy included in these hydrogen center announcements,” she said.

“With 93 nuclear reactors already responsible for nearly half of the country’s carbon-free electricity, the potential for nuclear power to shape our clean hydrogen future is enormous. For example, just ten of our current reactors can produce approximately 1.5 million tons of Clean hydrogen. She added: “Hydrogen annually, equivalent to 15% of the total clean hydrogen required in the United States by 2030 to put us on track to net zero by 2050. The future of clean hydrogen will need nuclear energy.” “Continued investments in “Both our current and future nuclear fleet are essential to harnessing nuclear potential to dramatically achieve clean hydrogen goals.”

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

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