NEW YORK--Terrestrial Energy USA, a leading U.S. nuclear technology company developing the generation IV Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR®) power plant, has partnered with Southern Company, a nationally recognized energy company, and several U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories to develop a more efficient and cleaner method for producing hydrogen using nuclear heat and power.
The two-year research and development project will examine the efficiency, design and economics of the IMSR®power plant to produce carbon-free, industrial-scale hydrogen using the hybrid sulfur process. This carbon-free method of generating hydrogen from water may be more efficient than high-temperature steam electrolysis.
The project intends to demonstrate the commercial and industrial-scale viability of pairing the hybrid sulfur process with an IMSR® power plant for large-scale production of hydrogen with zero greenhouse-gas emissions.
This work builds on two decades of research at Savannah River National Laboratory, which will continue to lead the technology development along with Sandia National Laboratories and Idaho National Laboratory.
Besides current uses of hydrogen in ammonia production, petroleum refining, chemicals production and other industrial applications, hydrogen is expected to grow significantly as a storable energy carrier. Future applications include all forms of transportation, thermal energy and energy storage, as well as growth in conventional uses of hydrogen. By 2020, the hydrogen market is expected to reach $200 billion.
“By combining forces with an energy leader such as Southern Company, we can bring this revolutionary technology to industrial markets. Using an IMSR® power plant to produce hydrogen more efficiently and economically, is just one of many industrial applications of IMSR® power plants beyond electricity generation,” said Simon Irish, CEO of Terrestrial Energy USA. “Removing carbon from the production of hydrogen helps bring deep decarbonization into reach. It points the way to the production of carbon-neutral transport fuels and zero-emissions fertilizers.”
“This is a potentially high-impact project that couples the benefits of molten salt reactors with the development of an advanced water-splitting process for hydrogen generation,” said Noah Meeks, Southern Company research engineer and project manager. “With its history of innovation, Southern Company is looking forward to exploring this new technology with Terrestrial Energy USA.”
About Terrestrial Energy USA
Terrestrial Energy USA, an affiliate of Terrestrial Energy Inc., is developing the Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR®) for U.S. market deployment. The IMSR® is an Advanced Reactor and represents true innovation in cost and functionality. It will provide clean, reliable and cost-competitive heat for many industrial applications, including electric power provision and heat for industrial processes, such as chemical synthesis and desalination. The IMSR® extends the applicability of nuclear energy beyond its current footprint in on-grid electric power markets. It promises to increase industrial competitiveness and energy security while concurrently driving deep decarbonization by displacing fossil fuel combustion across a broad industrial front. Using an innovative design based on proven Molten Salt Reactor technology, the IMSR® can be brought to market in the 2020s.