Nine Mile Point picked for hydrogen demonstration project

August 20, 2021, 4:08PMNuclear News
Nine Mile Point (Photo: Constellation Energy)

Exelon Generation has received a grant from the Department of Energy to explore the potential benefits of on-site hydrogen production and has chosen its Nine Mile Point nuclear power plant as the demonstration site, the company announced on Wednesday. (In 2019, Exelon received a conditional commitment from the DOE to co-fund a hydrogen electrolyzer demonstration at a nuclear plant.) Located in Scriba, N.Y., Nine Mile Point consists of two boiling water reactors—the 620-MWe Unit 1 and the 1,287-MWe Unit 2.

Exelon will partner with Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Nel Hydrogen, a subsidiary of Norway-based Nel ASA.

According to the August 18 announcement, the project will generate an economical supply of hydrogen, a natural by-product of nuclear energy, to be safely captured, stored, and potentially taken to market as a 100 percent carbon-free source of power for purposes other than supplying electricity to the grid, including industrial applications such as transportation. Funding for the project is provided by the DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, through the H2@Scale Program.

What they’re saying: “This partnership with DOE reflects our continued commitment to innovation and further demonstrates the immense value of our nuclear fleet and its ability to provide carbon-free energy to the communities we serve,” said Dave Rhoades, Exelon’s chief nuclear officer. “Among our many options, we chose the New York site, recognizing the strong partnership that we have had with the state, including the support for nuclear energy provided through the New York Public Service Commission’s clean energy standard.”

The technology: A proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer from Nel Hydrogen is scheduled for installation at Nine Mile Point in 2022. Operations are expected to begin in 2022 as well. The company announced last week that it had been awarded an approximately $2.6 million contract for a 1.25-MW MC250 containerized PEM electrolyzer to be installed at an unspecified U.S. nuclear plant. “This project represents an important first step toward developing a regional supply of zero-carbon hydrogen while supporting clean baseload electricity resources on the grid,” said Stephen Szymanski, vice president of sales and marketing at Nel Hydrogen.

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