Techno-Economic Analysis of Heat-Assisted Hydrogen Production from Nuclear Power


Connolly, C., Taylor, K., Bankhead, M., Jarvis, R., & Dean, J. (2024). Techno-Economic Analysis of Heat-Assisted Hydrogen Production from Nuclear Power. New Energy Exploitation and Application, 3(1), 108–129.


  • Christopher Connolly
    National Nuclear Laboratory, Sellafield, Seascale, Cumbria CA20 1PG, UK
  • Kate Taylor National Nuclear Laboratory, Sellafield, Seascale, Cumbria CA20 1PG, UK
  • Mark Bankhead National Nuclear Laboratory, Sellafield, Seascale, Cumbria CA20 1PG, UK
  • Richard Jarvis National Nuclear Laboratory, Sellafield, Seascale, Cumbria CA20 1PG, UK
  • Jason Dean National Nuclear Laboratory, Sellafield, Seascale, Cumbria CA20 1PG, UK

To play a full role in decarbonisation, hydrogen must be produced economically at scale; the role of nuclear power is interesting to national governments as it is capable of supplying both low-carbon electricity and high-quality heat. Depending on the hydrogen production technology choice, a plant may require electricity and/or heat input. This techno-economic evaluation considers not only the costs of the hydrogen plant itself but also the costs of the power supply it requires. This paper calculates cost estimates for HTSE (High Temperature Steam Electrolysis) coupled with nuclear heat and electricity, and a thermochemical SI (Sulphur Iodine) cycle coupled with nuclear heat, based on the predictions of technical process models. These estimates are then compared to estimates made elsewhere for the costs of using wind with low temperature liquid water electrolysis, and steam methane reformation with carbon capture. This analysis led to the identification of the conditions under which nuclear-heat-coupled hydrogen production would be competitively priced. Estimates for nuclear-coupled LCOH2 (levelised cost of hydrogen) in 2050 range from 2.14 to 1.24 £/kg for HTSE, and from 2.88 to 0.89 £/kg for the SI cycle. There is still a great deal of uncertainty around the efficiency of SI and how it may improve over time, and this limits the accuracy to which the LCOH2 can be predicted.


nuclear hydrogen production economics technology readiness levels steam electrolysis thermochemical


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