Thermal-Hydraulic Analyses of Heat Transfer Fluid Requirements and Characteristics for Coupling A Hydrogen Production Plant to a High-Temperature Nuclear Reactor
The Department of Energy is investigating the use of high-temperature nuclear reactors to produce hydrogen using either thermochemical cycles or high-temperature electrolysis. Although the hydrogen production processes are in an early stage of development, coupling either of these processes to the hightemperature reactor requires both efficient heat transfer and adequate separation of the facilities to assure that off-normal events in the production facility do not impact the nuclear power
... nuclear power plant. An intermediate heat transport loop will be required to separate the operations and safety functions of the nuclear and hydrogen plants. A next generation high-temperature reactor could be envisioned as a single-purpose facility that produces hydrogen or a dual-purpose facility that produces hydrogen and electricity. Early plants, such as the proposed Next Generation Nuclear Plant, may be dual-purpose facilities that demonstrate both hydrogen and efficient electrical generation. Later plants could be single-purpose facilities. At this stage of development, both single-and dual-purpose facilities need to be understood. Seven possible configurations for a system that transfers heat between the nuclear reactor and the hydrogen and/or electrical generation plants were identified. These configurations included both direct and indirect cycles for the production of electricity. Both helium and liquid salts were considered as the working fluid in the intermediate heat transport loop. Methods were developed to perform thermalhydraulic and cycle-efficiency evaluations of the different configurations and coolants. The thermalhydraulic evaluations estimated the sizes of various components in the intermediate heat transport loop for the different configurations. The relative sizes of components provide a relative indication of the capital cost associated with the various configurations. Estimates of the overall cycle efficiency of the various configurations were also determined. The evaluations determined which configurations and coolants are the most promising from thermal-hydraulic and efficiency points of view. These evaluations also determined which configurations and options do not appear to be feasible at the current time.