A collaboration between Bloom Energy and U.S. Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is reported to have produced hydrogen at record-setting efficiencies using a high-temperature electrolyzer installed at a nuclear facility.

After almost 500 hours of full load operation completed at the INL facility, the electrolysis system was documented to produce hydrogen up to 45% more efficiently than other commercially available electrolyzers. The high-temperature solid oxide electrolyzer generated hydrogen at 37.7 kWh/kg of hydrogen, with 88.5% lower heating value to DC. Dynamic testing included ramping the system from 100% of rated power to 5% in less than 10 minutes without adverse system impacts. Steam and load simulations replicated nuclear power station conditions, an important step in validating full compatibility with a nuclear facility.

High temperatures operation translates into reduced energy requirements relative to low-temperature polymer electrolyte membrane and alkaline electrolyzers to split water molecules. Nuclear plants are well positioned to utilize the new electrolyzer to efficiently produce substantial quantities of clean hydrogen with minimal disruption to ongoing operations.

Source: Bloom EnergySource: Bloom Energy

“The Bloom Electrolyzer is, without a doubt, the most efficient electrolyzer we have tested to-date at INL,” said John Wagner, director, INL. “When hydrogen is produced from a clean, 24/7 source, like nuclear, it can help us address some of the significant challenges we face around decarbonization."

To contact the author of this article, email shimmelstein@globalspec.com