Production

IAEA Experts Develop Nuclear Hydrogen Roadmap for Commercial Production

While costs have been a barrier to progress so far, energy price developments look more favourable.

Nuclear hydrogen has faced prohibitive obstacles to its widespread use, but as energy prices soar, the so-called pink H2 is starting to look a lot more promising.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is working on a roadmap for the commercial production of H2 rose.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is developing a roadmap for the commercial production of nuclear hydrogen. Pink H2 is considered by many to play a notable role in the clean energy transition. That said, as important as it may be on the path to decarbonization, the majority of H2 is still produced from fossil fuels, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions. Although it is possible to produce H2 in a cleaner way, according to the IAEA, less than 1% of the 70 million metric tons produced each year are manufactured using methods powered by renewable energy or using fossil fuel-powered methods followed by carbon capture and storage.

The use of nuclear energy to split water to produce hydrogen is therefore considered a promising production method. This method is known as pink H2, while a second method of using this energy produces red H2. It is the form that uses the heat from the power plant for the thermochemical cycles that split water molecules, resulting in oxygen and O2. The heat could also be used to reduce emissions from natural gas reforming.

These different methods of nuclear hydrogen production help to minimize carbon emissions.

“Today, the vast majority of hydrogen needed in industries is made using fossil fuel technologies – primarily natural gas – but nuclear energy has the potential to provide both electricity and the heat needed to produce hydrogen in a sustainable, low-carbon and cost-effective way,” said IAEA nuclear engineer Alina Constantin, who is also co-lead on the project.

“However, several challenges related to technology, economics, security and authorization, as well as political support and stakeholder engagement need to be addressed over the next decade, demonstrating the feasibility and enabling the shift to commercial-scale production, if nuclear is to play a role in hydrogen production for the clean energy transition,” Constantin added when discussing the potential of nuclear hydrogen.

Great video explaining the hydrogen rainbow or what the colors mean? Simply put, the color term used as “pink hydrogen” refers to how it is produced or how hydrogen is made. This video explains that and other hydrogen manufacturing terms or forms like yellow hydrogen or white hydrogen – Check it out for science terms and education: