Washington, DC - Today, the Energy Department (DOE) announced up to $3.5 million for hydrogen production research and development (R&D) that is compatible with nuclear energy sources. Many utilities are now economically incentivized to consider integrating nuclear energy production with other industrial processes to optimize thermal and electrical energy production.

Through the selection of these projects, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office will advance HTE hydrogen production research and development (R&D) with the potential to offer baseload nuclear plants an additional revenue stream. This is one example of how DOE’s innovative early stage hydrogen R&D can enable affordable and reliable energy that enhances economic growth and energy security.

"Today we are producing affordable energy from a wider range of sources than we ever thought possible," said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel Simmons. "Renewables, nuclear, and fossil energy are part of America’s energy mix, as we remain committed to a comprehensive energy strategy to ensure we are utilizing all of our abundant, American energy resources."

Using electricity and heat generated at nuclear energy facilities to produce hydrogen via extremely efficient high temperature electrolysis (HTE) is one promising integration approach for generating low cost hydrogen. Through utilization of the high temperature heat generated by nuclear energy plants, less electricity is required for the HTE process; thermal energy is generally less expensive than electrical energy.

The projects identified are chosen as alternates under prior year Fuel Cell Technologies Office funding opportunity announcements, which included topics on hydrogen production materials R&D.

  • FuelCell Energy of Danbury, Connecticut will receive $1.5 million for materials R&D aimed at reducing the operating temperature of solid-oxide high-temperature electrolysis (HTE) to levels more compatible with advanced nuclear energy heat sources.
  • Saint Gobain of Northboro, Massachusetts will receive up to $1M to adapt its novel all-ceramic stack technology to HTE with a focus on addressing fundamental durability challenges.
  • West Virginia University of Morgantown, West Virginia will receive up to $1M to develop new HTE materials capable of durable and efficient operation at temperatures compatible with nuclear energy heat sources.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) supports early-stage R&D of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that make energy more affordable and strengthen the U.S. economy.