Monday’s post gave a quick look into Greg Naterer’s research into producing hydrogen from the “spent” energy of a nuclear reactor.  I emailed Dr. Naterer and he was kind enough to respond with a link for a paper published for the Canadian Hydrogen Workshop, of October 26, 2006.  I have posted the link for the pdf download so you too, can see what was the state of the art.

The research is much further along that I had imagined or the later news reports have suggested.  The basic technology was developed at the US Argonne National Laboratory, which enabled the research to continue in Canada.  It is of interest to note that Canada, the US, Japan and France are collaborating to examine the process and its potential.  Other processes are being investigated including one with sulfur iodine.  Korea and China are collaborating on the sulfur iodine process.  Japan expects to complete a large sulfur iodine unit sized to 60,000H m3/hr by 2020, which would power 1 million fuel-celled vehicles.

Once past the abstract and introduction the meat is at 2. where the Copper-Chlorine (Cu-Cl) Cycle is explained and the problems discussed.  Its well detailed and offers the engineers and scientists a good view of where the developmental problems lie.

I notice that the authors lead by Dr. Naterer are looking locally for the heat source, a Generation IV nuclear uranium fueled plant.  The nuclear plant offers steam that has been used under pressure to drive turbines and still holds a huge amount of thermal energy available for other uses.  Noteworthy above all is that the thermal energy now lost can be used for generating hydrogen and it looks as though there will be useful thermal energy remaining after the hydrogen production process.

There may well be other sources of thermal energy that can use one of the processes to generate hydrogen.  Geothermal comes to mind and perhaps a large solar thermal.

I would be shortsighted not to observe that should these processes become fully workable and economic producers of hydrogen the remaining problem of long-term storage will become front and center.

Here is where we congratulate Dr. Naterer and offer our encouragement.  The Dr. and his team have offered another process to make the efficiency of nuclear, and perhaps other thermal sources much more viable for electricity production and co-generation of hydrogen fuel.  This is a serious innovation that one can fairly expect to have very long term implications for the world’s economy.


2 Comments so far

  1. A Hydrogen Economy Reality Check on November 7, 2007 12:33 PM

    […] of the heat remaining from a nuclear plant that’s generating electricity with the stream first as discussed here on November 1st is developmental, not a sure economic thing. On the other hand the contracted installation of […]

  2. best gas on September 15, 2008 9:49 AM

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