Nine Mile Point to produce hydrogen for self-supply

19 August 2021

A containerised Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolyser is to be installed at Exelon Generation's Nine Mile Point nuclear power plant in New York State as part of a hydrogen production demonstration project. The unit will supply hydrogen for the plant's turbine cooling and chemistry control.

Nine Mile Point (Image: Exelon)

Exelon Generation announced yesterday it has received a grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to explore the potential benefits of on-site hydrogen production at Nine Mile Point. The company will partner with Nel Hydrogen, Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to demonstrate integrated production, storage and normal usage at the plant.

The PEM electrolyser will be installed at the plant and operations are expected to begin in 2022. It will use the plant's existing hydrogen storage system and supporting infrastructure. Exelon Generation noted the amount of hydrogen safely stored at the site will not change significantly as a result of this initiative and plant staff are fully prepared to support the project using existing operational protocols.

"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% carbon-free source of power for other purposes, including industrial applications such as transportation," Exelon Generation said.

"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 Generation's chief nuclear officer. "Among our many options, we chose the New York site, recognising 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 project is funded by the DOE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, through the H2@Scale programme. H2@Scale is a DOE initiative that brings together stakeholders to advance affordable hydrogen production, transport, storage and utilisation to enable decarbonisation and revenue opportunities across multiple sectors.

Last week, Norway's Nel ASA announced its Nel Hydrogen US subsidiary had received a USD2.6 million contract from "a leading utility in the US" for a 1.25 MW containerised PEM electrolyser. It said an MC250 electrolyser would be installed at a nuclear power plant for self-supply of hydrogen to meet turbine cooling and chemistry control requirements.

Nel launched the MC250 and MC500 containerised PEM electrolysers in February this year, saying they represent "automated MW-class on-site hydrogen generators utilising a modular containerised design for ease of installation and integration."

"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 Sales and Marketing at Nel Hydrogen US.

"A primary project outcome includes the successful operation and control of what will be the first PEM electrolyser at a nuclear generating plant in the US configured for dynamic dispatch," Nel said. "In addition, the project will demonstrate the economic feasibility of hydrogen production at nuclear sites and provide a blueprint for large scale carbon-free hydrogen export in support of DOE's H2@Scale programme objectives."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News