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nucleareurope organises webinar on EU-Based Hydrogen production

On 30 May, nucleareurope organised a third webinar dedicated to hydrogen production from nuclear, this time with a focus on EU-based hydrogen production. The webinar, moderated by Aymen Grira, Innovation & Incubation Manager at Westinghouse and chair of nucleareurope’s Hydrogen Task Force, was followed by over 100 participants, and included expert interventions from nucleareurope, the nuclear and hydrogen industries and the European institutions. This webinar showcased the benefits of hydrogen production from nuclear, and the vast potential for innovation in the field. The recording of the full webinar is available here.

Andrei Goicea, nucleareurope Policy Director, opened the session by noting that the topic of hydrogen is still high up on the European Union’s policy agenda, and that policy developments would be crucial as regards hydrogen production from nuclear. He insisted on the need to adopt a technology neutral approach for hydrogen related legislation, so as to ensure a level playing field between net-zero technologies.

Félix Moldován, Nuclear and Energy attaché at the Hungarian Permanent Representation to the EU then detailed the latest policy developments in the field of hydrogen production and nuclear. He highlighted the increasingly important role that hydrogen produced from nuclear would play in the future, observing that nuclear power is increasingly being accepted by EU policy makers. Acknowledging that future policy developments would, to a great extent, depend on the upcoming European election results, he stressed that future legislation, specifically as regards the definition of low-carbon hydrogen, would be highly important.

Following this intervention, Aymen Grira gave the floor to the three industry experts invited to share their perspectives on hydrogen production. Fabio Nouchy, Product Manager for Small Modular Reactors at Tractebel first gave an overview of EU-based hydrogen production. Insisting that the EU needs to expand its domestic hydrogen production capacities to reach the 2040 climate targets, he presented the hydrogen value chain and its associated costs. After outlining the different hydrogen production methods, he highlighted the benefits of hydrogen production from nuclear, specifically in terms of efficiency and long-term cost benefits.

Nicolas Valayé, Consulting Manager at Genvia then gave a presentation on the fundamentals of solid oxide electrolysis and highlighted the benefits of high temperature electrolysis for hydrogen production. Presenting Genvia’s electrolyser technology, he stressed that high temperature electrolysis allows for more energy efficiency by combining energy from heat and electricity. He added that in the case of nuclear, solid oxide electrolysis was especially interesting as it enables the leveraging of heat generated by electricity production.

Concluding the interventions from industry experts, Dirk Rabelink, CEO of ULC-Energy delved into the economics of hydrogen production from Small Modular Reactors, based on the example of ULC energy’s SMR projects in the Netherlands. He presented a recent study assessing the cost of hydrogen produced by a Small Modular Reactor combined with a Solid Oxide Electrolyser Cell (SOEC), which showed that such a combination would be significantly more cost efficient than alternative methods for producing hydrogen. Furthermore, hydrogen production from nuclear enables flexibly switching from producing hydrogen to delivering electricity to the power grid, allowing for further cost reduction.

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