The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), a national research and development agency, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), have been contracted by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, part of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), to conduct its Hydrogen Production Demonstration Project Utilizing Very High Temperature.
The partners , from this year, also initiated a program to produce hydrogen using a High Temperature Engineering Test Reactor (HTTR).
Under this program, a newly built hydrogen production plant will be connected to an HTTR owned by JAEA, with the aim of proving the technology for hydrogen production utilizing the high temperature heat obtained from the HTTR.
The determination of specific renovations necessary to connect the hydrogen production plant, along with the licensing procedure, equipment modifications, and testing, will be conducted in stages. To support future advancements in technologies for hydrogen production, JAEA and MHI will also examine the feasibility of enlarging certain components to allow for large-scale hydrogen production (such as the high temperature isolation valve), and explore carbon-free hydrogen production technologies in combination with high temperature gas-cooled reactors.
Through this program, JAEA and MHI will prove the technology for hydrogen production utilizing extremely high temperature heat from sources such as high temperature gas-cooled reactors, and realize the stable, large-scale, carbon-free hydrogen production.
Japan’s Strategic Energy Plan (Cabinet approval in October 2021) sets as a policy the establishment of elemental technologies for hydrogen production using high temperature gas-cooled reactors. In addition, the Green Growth Strategy Through Achieving Carbon Neutrality in 2050 (formulated in June 2021) sets as a policy the development by 2030 of technologies necessary to produce large-scale, low cost, carbon-free hydrogen by utilizing HTTRs, which have achieved world record-high temperatures.
On February 8, 2022, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, part of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), began accepting bids for its Hydrogen Production Demonstration Project Utilizing Very High Temperature. A consortium comprising JAEA, which is capable of conducting tests using an HTTR, and MHI, which is evaluating technology for hydrogen production using high temperature gas-cooled reactors, was selected as the consignee for this project.
For the first stage of this program, in fiscal 2022, JAEA and MHI will design an HTTR-Hydrogen Production Test Facility that connects an HTTR with a hydrogen production plant, and formulate a development plan for such equipment as high temperature isolation valves in preparation for a demonstration reactor.
JAEA and MHI will also analyse technologies for carbon-free hydrogen production capable of using high temperature heat from high temperature gas-cooled reactors, and compare these technologies to determine hydrogen production methods with the potential to enhance the efficiency of hydrogen production.