UK interested in nuclear hydrogen

The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and DNV (design bureau specializing in, among other things, new energies) have joined forces to investigate the opportunities of nuclear energy in the large-scale production of hydrogen in the United Kingdom. Objective: To demonstrate that nuclear hydrogen, aka pink hydrogen, offers many more production prospects than traditional canals and would make it possible to build a hydrogen gas network that can be used for district and industrial heating.

Our forecasts indicate that by 2050, a third of the world’s demand for hydrogen and synthetic fuels will be used for industrial heating. We will have to consider multiple avenues to reach the hydrogen economy, nuclear being one of those avenues “For Hari Vamadevan, Regional Director, United Kingdom and Ireland at DNV, the large-scale development of hydrogen production is necessarily the nuclear sector because, he adds, “ the path to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees requires creating a robust hydrogen economy

Demand for hydrogen in the UK by 2050 is estimated to be 13% of the UK energy mix and is mainly supported by sectors where decarbonisation through electrification alone is particularly difficult. This is particularly the case for industrial heating, while the government has made commitments with the first effects to be measured by 2026. The idea: to exploit gas networks to distribute hydrogen to installations with high CO2 emissions.

In this context, a pilot project is underway at the Advanced Nuclear Skills and Innovation Campus (ANSIC), located in NNL’s Preston lab on the Springfield nuclear site. Three workshops will be organized there between November 2021 and March 2022 to explore different avenues.

An obvious collaboration, Dr. Paul Howarth, Director General of the National Nuclear Laboratory, is his interlocutor at DNV in the same dynamic by confirming that ” innovation, our specialist skills and expertise are fundamental to maximize the potential of advanced nuclear technologies for decarbonisation. They are an important part of the ANSIC pilot program. Nuclear offers the possibility to produce hydrogen on a large scale and at low cost, emission-free and could be an ideal energy source to support the transition of our gas networks to CO2-free.


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