JAEA and MHI join forces for the HTTR hydrogen project: Corporate

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April 25, 2022

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) will set up a hydrogen production demonstration project at the High Temperature Test Reactor (HTTR) in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture.

The proposed hydrogen production plant at the HTTR (Image: MHI)

JAEA and MHI were commissioned to set up the project by the Natural Resources and Energy Agency (ANRE) of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as part of Japan’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050.

On February 8, ANRE launched a call for tenders for a demonstration project for the use of HTTR for the mass production of hydrogen. JAEA – operator of the HTTR – has selected MHI, which is carrying out technical studies on the production of hydrogen by the mechanism and high-temperature gas reactors, as prime contractor for the project.

Together, starting this year, JAEA and MHI will carry out the conversion, authorization procedure, equipment modification and testing in stages. Also, in order to advance hydrogen production technology in the HTTR in the future, they will consider increasing the size of some equipment (e.g. high temperature isolation valve) to enable hydrogen production. large-scale hydrogen, and combine it with the high-temperature gas reactor.

The organizations will also study carbon-free hydrogen production technologies that can utilize high temperature heat from high temperature gas reactors and examine hydrogen production methods that can improve the efficiency of hydrogen production. comparing each technology.

“Through this project, JAEA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will confirm hydrogen production technology using ultra-high temperature heat from high-temperature gas reactors, etc., and lead to the realization of massive and stable production carbon-free hydrogen,” they said in a joint statement.

The 30 MWt graphite-moderated helium gas-cooled HTTR achieved first criticality in November 1998 and reached full power in 2001. It demonstrated stable heat at 950°C for 50 days in 2010. Its fuel is consisting of ceramic coated particles with low (average 6%) uranium embedded in hexagonal graphite prisms, giving it a high level of inherent safety. It is designed to establish a basis for the commercialization of second-generation helium-cooled power plants operating at elevated temperatures for industrial applications or to drive direct-cycle gas turbines. The reactor resumed operations on July 30 last year, having been inactive since February 2011, when it was taken offline for scheduled inspections.

from Japan Basic energy plan – approved by the government in October 2021 – stipulates that high-temperature gas reactors will be used for the production of hydrogen. Moreover, the Green growth strategy for 2050 carbon neutral (published June 2021) indicates that it will be necessary to use HTTR to produce large quantities and inexpensive carbon-free hydrogen by 2030.

Research and writing by World Nuclear News



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