News | April 22, 2022

Start Of Hydrogen Production Demonstration Project By HTTR For Realization Of Carbon Neutrality

In order to realize carbon neutrality in 2050, in addition to decarbonization in the electric power field, decarbonization in the fields of steelmaking, transportation, etc. will be required. To achieve this, the utilization of hydrogen energy is expected, and it was shown that the elemental technologies related to hydrogen production will be established in the green growth strategy.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (hereinafter referred to as "Atomic Energy Agency") and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Mitsubishi Heavy Industries") have been commissioned by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as the first step. We have been entrusted with the business "Hydrogen mass production technology demonstration project using ultra-high temperature" and started the hydrogen production business by HTTR (High Temperature Engineering Test Reactor (High Temperature Gas Reactor)) from this year. In this project, a hydrogen production facility will be newly connected to the HTTR owned by JAEA, and the hydrogen production technology utilizing the high temperature heat obtained from the HTTR will be confirmed. We will carry out the conversion, licensing procedure, equipment modification and testing in stages. In addition, in order to advance the hydrogen production technology in the high-temperature gas reactor demonstration reactor in the future, we will consider increasing the size of some equipment (high-temperature isolation valve, etc.) to enable large-scale hydrogen production, and combine it with the high-temperature gas reactor. We will also investigate carbon-free hydrogen production technology.

Through this project, JAEA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will confirm the hydrogen production technology using ultra-high temperature heat of high temperature gas reactors, etc., and will lead to the realization of mass and stable carbon-free hydrogen production.

While the movement toward lowering the cost of carbon-free hydrogen, which does not emit carbon dioxide in all processes from manufacturing to use, is accelerating around the world, the "Basic Energy Plan" (decided by the Cabinet in October 2021) states that high-temperature gas is used. Our policy is to promote the establishment of elemental technologies related to hydrogen production in chillers. In addition, in the "Green Growth Strategy for 2050 Carbon Neutral" (established in June 2021), it will be necessary to utilize the research reactor HTTR, which recorded the world's highest temperature, to produce large quantities and inexpensive carbon-free hydrogen by 2030. It is our policy to develop various technologies.

Based on the policies of these countries, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry started a public solicitation for "Hydrogen mass production technology demonstration project using ultra-high temperature" on February 8, 2022, and nuclear power that can be tested using HTTR. We have selected a consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is conducting technical studies on hydrogen production using the mechanism and high-temperature gas reactors, as the contractor for this business.

As the first stage of this project, in the 4th year of Reiwa, we will design the HTTR-hydrogen production test facility that connects the HTTR and the hydrogen production plant, and study the development plan of equipment such as high-temperature isolation valves with an eye on the demonstration reactor. In addition, we will investigate carbon-free hydrogen production technologies that can utilize the high-temperature heat of high-temperature gas reactors, and consider hydrogen production methods that can be expected to improve hydrogen production efficiency by comparing each technology.

Source: The Japan Atomic Energy Agency