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Electrolysis – High Temperature – Hydrogen

Idaho National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

INL has developed a high-temperature process the utilizes solid oxide fuel cells that are operated in the electrolytic mode. The first process includes combining a high-temperature heat source (e.g. nuclear reactor) with a hydrogen production facility by taking a stream of water and heating it and then splitting the water into hydrogen and oxygen product streams.

A second method uses several loops, including a primary heat loop, intermediate exchange loop, power generation loop, and hydrogen production facility thermally coupled to the intermediate heat exchange loop. The first flow path goes from the pump through the first and second heat exchanger and back to the pump. A mass of molten salt or helium is disposed during the first flow path.


The second flow path flows from the first heat exchanger to the third heat exchanger through a compressor and back to the first heat exchanger with the disposal of more molten salt or helium in the process. The third flow path goes from the second heat exchanger through the turbine, one recuperator, one compressor, and back to the second heat exchanger. This disposes of the carbon dioxide. Thus the molten salt expands in the turbine to generate power.   


 -  More efficient electrolysis process.

Applications and Industries

Hydrogen, energy source, alternative energy, electrolysis, high temperature

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 8,132,410
Methods and systems for the production of hydrogen
Methods and systems are disclosed for the production of hydrogen and the use of high-temperature heat sources in energy conversion. In one embodiment, a primary loop may include a nuclear reactor utilizing a molten salt or helium as a coolant. The nuclear reactor may provide heat energy to a power generation loop for production of electrical energy. For example, a supercritical carbon dioxide fluid may be heated by the nuclear reactor via the molten salt and then expanded in a turbine to drive a generator. An intermediate heat exchange loop may also be thermally coupled with the primary loop and provide heat energy to one or more hydrogen production facilities. A portion of the hydrogen produced by the hydrogen production facility may be diverted to a combustor to elevate the temperature of water being split into hydrogen and oxygen by the hydrogen production facility.
Idaho National Laboratory 03/13/2012
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
BA-233; 8,132,410DevelopmentAvailable08/31/201208/31/2012

Contact INL About This Technology

To: Ryan Bills<>