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Nuclear hydrogen production

The hydrogen economy is getting higher visibility and stronger political support in several parts of the world. In recent years the scope of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) program on non-electric applications of nuclear energy has been widened to include other more promising applications such as nuclear hydrogen production and high temperature process heat applications. Nuclear hydrogen production technologies have great potential and advantages over other sources that might be considered for a growing the hydrogen share in a future world energy economy. The selection of hydrogen technologies (to be coupled to nuclear power reactors) greatly depends on the type of the nuclear power plant itself. Some hydrogen production technologies, such as conventional electrolysis, require only electric power. Whereas others, such as thermochemical cycles, may require only process heat (which may be delivered at elevated temperature values) or hybrid technologies such as the high temperature steam electrolysis (HTSE) and hybrid thermochemical cycles, which require both heat and electricity.

Hydrogen Economic Evaluation Program (HEEP)

The IAEA Hydrogen Economic Evaluation Program HEEP was developed and released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as a free tool which can be used to assess the economics of large scale hydrogen production using nuclear energy. The software can be used to evaluate the economics of the four most promising processes for hydrogen production: high and low temperature electrolysis, thermochemical processes including S-I process, conventional electrolysis and steam reforming.

The IAEA HEEP software is suitable for comparative studies not only between nuclear and fossil energy sources for hydrogen production but also for solely hydrogen production or cogeneration with electricity. The HEEP models are based on some economic and technical data, and on cost modelling which include various aspects of hydrogen economy including storage, transport, and distribution with options to eliminate or include specific details as required by the users.

Download HEEP software

Hydrogen Economic Evaluation Program (HydCalc)

One of the most important factors to be considered when deciding on nuclear hydrogen production is the size of the nuclear power reactor. Larger reactors are more suitable for cogeneration while smaller and modular reactors are more appropriate for hydrogen generation as a single commodity. Economics of hydrogen production is another deciding factor that becomes more effective with the Carbon tax in effect. HydCalc was developed as a single window calculator to make rough estimate of the hydrogen production cost utilizing different technologies. It uses current price estimate from publications and articles in open literature, and provides cost value of hydrogen production based on average estimated CO2 release. It also considers the effect of CO2 tax on the production cost.

Download HydCalc software

User's Manual

To use HydCalc, please download 'Hydcalc.zip' from the link provided above. Unzip/extract the files and use HydCalc.exe to run the program. The program will not be perform properly if executed from the zipped file.

IAEA Toolkit on Nuclear Hydrogen Production

This toolkit has been developed by the Agency to facilitate easy finding of any of the Agency's activities on nuclear hydrogen production, it can be freely download from the IAEA web site.

Download Toolkit on Nuclear Hydrogen Production (December 2018)


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