Researchers at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) and Cerametec company (Utah) have announced the experimentally obtained the production rate of hydrogen by high temperature electrolysis (HTE) the highest ever reported. This promising method, which decomposes water into hydrogen and oxygen by applying an electrical current, requires supplying energy depends on its efficiency and therefore its interest. In the case of low temperature electrolysis, powered by a coal plant for example, the energy cost is three to four times greater than the final energy output. For EHT however, performance can increase to 50%, especially if coupled to a high-temperature nuclear reactor (HTR). The idea of the researchers is to eventually build a unit like this that bring the coolant gas (helium in this case) at a temperature of about 1000 ° C. The heated gas is used in two ways: either to turn an electricity generating turbine, or to bring to 800 ° C water for use in electrolysis. Upon arrival, the reactor "in 2 1" could generate 300 choice megawatts of energy to the power grid or 2,5 kg of hydrogen per second. The problem is that the control of gas-cooled high-temperature plants, even classic, is still limited. Cerametec INEEL and now intend to test the feasibility of the device through a project of 2,6 million. A commercial-scale prototype is expected by the Department of Energy (DOE) by 2017.
source: New York Times 28 / 11 / 04