Hydrogen Power Engineering Print

Hydrogen Power Engineering
Presently, considering limited oil and gas recourses, activities on alternate fuel search are being carried out throughout the world. In power industry, these can be uranium and other fissile materials, coal and shale gas with new low-waste burning techniques. But it is difficult to use power plants based on these fuels for transport as their dimensions are relatively large.
The most prospective substitute for gasoline and diesel motor fuels can be hydrogen fuel, which produces standard water steam as the exhaust. Nowadays, hydrogen is produced using electrolysis mainly for the needs of the chemical industry. This generation technique is rather recourse-intensive. Meanwhile, commercial grade hydrogen generation can be executed using heat power from nuclear high-temperature reactors. Even now, when serial production of such reactors is not initiated (which will reduce their cost value) the cost of hydrogen fuel generated in these plants is assessed not higher than the current gasoline cost.

Hydrogen Motor Cars

In OKBM, activities on high-temperature gas cooled reactors (HTGR) were initiated at the end of 1973. From mid 80s, this project has become the only domestic high-temperature reactor technology project on account of its competitiveness.

HTGRs are conceptually new type of universal ecologically clean nuclear power sources. Their unique properties, capacity to generate heat of temperature up to 1000C and high safety level, determine wide opportunities to use reactor of this type to supply with heat process procedures in different industry branches (chemical industry, oil refinery, metallurgy), to generate electrical power of high efficiency and highly efficiently generate hydrogen fuel.

HTGRs Safety

An inert helium gas used as the coolant in reactors of this type do not chemically react with the moderator material, graphite, even at very high temperatures. Fuel is arranged in not large spherical ceramic capsules, which do not disintegrate under the action of high temperatures. Therefore, any cases of both the internal origin (personnel actions, equipment malfunctions) and external origin (thermal, dynamic effect on the plant) can not result in rector core melting.



Read more: High-temperature gas-cooled reactors


State-of-the-Art and Prospective Hydrogen Applications
(in the order of increasing consumption rate)

Industry Branches, Hydrogen ConsumersHydrogen Process ApplicationHydrogen Consumption Rates (Typical Ranges)Ways to Supply with Hydrogen Relevant Plants, Equipment etc.
Electronics, semiconductor, computer manufacturing Material impurity purification Small and infinitesimal, as low as 2.4 – 2.5 thous. nm3/day (up to 200 – 220 kg/day) Water electrolysis at the consumption site, delivery from the specialized production facilities in pressure cylinders or as a liquefied gas, methanol or ammonia decomposition at the site, hydrogen deliveries in hydride accumulators
Communication Manufacturing optical fiber
Pharmaceutics Manufacturing large quantity of medical supplies, purifying raw material
Scientific research Creating ultralow temperatures up to 14 – 150K using liquid hydrogen evaporation (including in vacuum)
Institutions, offices, population Power supply for computers, mobile phones etc.
Small- and medium-scale power As a fuel at hydrogen fuel-element peak and maneuver electric power plants Small and average, up to 12 thous. nm3/day (up to 1000 kg/day) Water electrolysis at the consumption site (including usage of renewable power types), delivery from the specialized production facilities in pressure cylinders or as a liquefied gas, small hydrocarbon reforming plants
As a fuel in autonomous systems (distributed systems of small-scale power industry)
As a coolant for cooling high-capacity electrical generators
As a power preserving agent – hydrogen generation during underloading hours with reverse electrical power generation to cover peak power consumption loads
As a fuel in hydrogen-based gas turbine plants
Transport (mainly cars, buses) As a fuel on hydrogen fuel-element transport vehicles
As a motor fuel in hydrogen internal-combustion engines for transport vehicles 
Food industry Hydrogenation of liquid edible fats and oils in order to increase their resistance to oxidizing and thermal impact, obtaining solid oils for margarines
Hydrogenation of non-edible fats to produce soap, as well as fodders for animal breeding
Manufacturing sugar substitutes 
Creating hydrogen environment to synthesize food (fodder) proteins using microbiological organisms
Glass industry Creating reducing atmosphere during glass and quartz making Average, up to 70 - 72 thous. nm3/day (up to 6.0 t/day)  Steam and autothermal reforming, partial oxidation of hydrocarbon material
Metal processing and machine building Creating reducing atmosphere against oxidation during metal processing (nonoxidation heating), as well as rolling etc.
Qualitative metal cutting and welding due to sootless high-temperature (3100C) flame 
Ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy Direct ore-reduction iron making Large, up to 250 thous. nm3/day (up to 6.0 t/day) Steam and autothermal reforming, partial oxidation of hydrocarbon material
Processes of direct metal reduction from oxides (for example, from iron ore)
Powder metallurgy technologies (obtaining powder Fe, Ti, Ni, Co, Cu) 
Annealing stainless steel in hydrogen environment
Obtaining less-common and nonferrous metals from oxides or acid (molybdenum, tungsten, cobalt, nickel, germanium etc.) solutions
Increasing capacity of blast furnaces by substituting a part of the coke with hydrogen-containing reducing gas (Н2 + СО)
Coal conversion and shale processing Manufacturing synthetic liquid fuels, Fisher – Tropsha technologies
Manufacturing gaseous synthetic fuels
Secondary chemical and oil chemical production facilities Manufacturing hydrogen peroxide Large, up to 250 thous. nm3/day (up to 20 t/day) Steam and autothermal reforming, partial oxidation of hydrocarbon material
Manufacturing acetic anhydride 
Manufacturing ethylene glycol
Producing isocyanides (initial products to obtain polyurethanes)
Producing aromatics
Producing plastics (polyethylene, polypropylene etc.)
Producing olefins
Hydrating aldehydes to alcohol 
Producing caprolactam, aldehydes, ketones, naphthalene
Oil refinery

Hydrofining oil products (gas oil, black oil, medium distillates, gasoline etc.) from sulphides 

Large, up to 250 thous. nm3/day (up to 20 t/day)

Steam and autothermal reforming, partial oxidation of hydrocarbon material
Hydrogen cracking gas oils, heavy gasoline, black oils, bitumen etc
Stabilizing oil products using hydrating olefins in gasolines and diesel fuels of secondary origin
Hydra dearomatizating gas oils, diesel fuels, naphtha
Hydra de-alkylating toluene, xylene and others
Hydrating benzene
Producing oils 
Base chemistry, fertilizer industry Producing ammonia
Producing methanol

Table was taken from “Hydrogen generation and usage. Plants technical and investment indices and prospective development trends at the world market”, Reference Report, JSC “PRIMA – KhIMMASH”, St. Petersburg, 2005.