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NuScale, Shell and partners to assess hydrogen production using SMR

NuScale Power, along with Shell Global Solutions (Shell) and industry participants will develop and assess a concept for an economically optimized Integrated Energy System (IES) for hydrogen production using electricity and process heat from a NuScale VOYGR small modular reactor (SMR) power plant.


The project entitled, “Development and Demonstration of a Concept for an Economically Optimized IES,” will be completed in two phases. Additional research participants include Idaho National Laboratory, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), Fuel Cell Energy, FPoliSolutions, and GSE Solutions.

NuScale’s flexible SMR technology holds the potential—through hydrogen production—to balance and stabilize power grids dominated by renewable energies. Energy markets present reliability concerns at times when energy demand is high and renewable energy production is low. In these markets, hydrogen would be used as an end-product 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 decarbonization and NuScale’s SMR technology complements this goal through low carbon hydrogen production.

—John Hopkins, NuScale Power President and Chief Executive Officer

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 subsequent electricity production. Further, local economic factors from the UAMPS Carbon Free Power Project will be assessed, such as the impact in the Western Energy Imbalance Market, resource adequacy programs, and other local market factors to be defined.



If you are going to make hydrogen and we do need hydrogen, using heat plus power from a nuclear plant is a better way to make clean hydrogen than just using electric power. However, I think that instead of using the hydrogen for fuel cells power, it would be better to use the nuclear plant for base power. When demand is low or there is sufficient wind or solar power to meet more of the demand, the excess power could be used to make hydrogen for other purposes such as ammonia.

Thomas Pedersen

So, Europe, and particularly Denmark, is miles ahead of the US when it comes to adoption of wind+solar for electricity production (in terms of percent of total consumption). Yet, we still need about 7 times more, in Denmark, by my estimates, to supply our entire energy need from wind+solar. At that point, W+S will generate more than the current electricity consumption 85% of the time!

The role of nuclear is (should be...) to supply something like the minimum future electricity consumption, at which point most of all electricity would still come from W+S - at lower cost per kWh produced - but with lower peak production and no requirements for backup plants to operate on windless nights. Instead, all consumers able to postpone their consumption would halt to reduce cost. You wouldn't pay double to charge your EV unless you had to. Most wouldn't, anyway...

Btw, from a societal point of view, no electricity generation should be dedicated to produce solely hydrogen, because we need the output in electrical form when W+S i scarce.

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