I’ve talked in the past about thermochemical cracking of water at high temperatures to create hydrogen. Nuclear power plants already produce waste steam and heat, two of the ingredients needed to create hydrogen from water.
And while high temperature cracking of water into hydrogen and oxygen has been talked about and experimented with for years, both using electrolysis and chemicals to help split the water, there is a new type of electrolysis being used a nuclear power plants that is of some interest now.
The information I’m about to tell you was presented at the meeting of the American Chemical Society. Scientists are now looking at the 435 worldwide operational nuclear power plants as a possible solution to creating hydrogen fuel now.
According to Newswise, “Experts envision the current generation of nuclear power plants using a low-temperature electrolysis which can take advantage of low electricity prices during the plant’s off-peak hours to produce hydrogen. Future plants, designed specifically for hydrogen production, would use a more efficient high-temperature electrolysis process or be coupled to thermochemical processes, which are currently under research and development.”
My guess is that people who are not fans of building new nuclear power plants will not be a fan of creating hydrogen using this method. But, using the nuclear power plants already in existence and making the most of the waste steam and heat, I believe is something worth exploring more at least in the interim before solar, wind, and hydro-electric are developed to the point where nuclear power plants are no longer needed.
In the short-term, however, creating hydrogen this way will get the hydrogen economy rolling, get hydrogen cars on the road, and lessen our dependence on foreign oil. And while not a perfect solution, it is a solution that should be taken seriously in the short-term.