Inderscience Publishers

Potential of hybridisation of the thermochemical hybrid-sulphur cycle for the production of hydrogen by using nuclear and solar energy in the same plant

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The search for a sustainable, CO2-free massive hydrogen production route is a strong need, if one takes into account the world-wide increasing energy demand, the deterioration of fossil fuel reserves and in particular the increasing CO2 concentration leading to global warming. Thermo-chemical cycles for water splitting are considered as a promising alternative of emission-free routes of massive hydrogen production – with potentially higher efficiencies and lower costs compared to alkaline electrolysis of water. The hybrid-sulphur cycle was chosen as one of the most promising cycles from the 'sulphur family' of processes. Different process schemes using concentrated sunlight or nuclear generated heat or a combination of both have been elaborated and analysed by a comparative techno-economic study with regard to their potential of a large-scale hydrogen production. Options for a hybridisation of the energy supply between solar and nuclear have been also investigated, particular focused on the coupling of concentrated solar radiation into a round-the-clock operated process. Process design and simulation, industrial scale-up assessments including safety analysis and cost evaluations were performed to analyse reliability and potential of those process concepts.

Keywords: thermochemical cycle; hybrid sulphur cycle; solar energy; economics; sulphur-iodine cycle; sulphuric acid; process modelling; nuclear energy; solar power; nuclear power; water splitting; hydrogen production; process design; simulation; safety analysis; cost evaluation; reliability.

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