Leaders from the US Department of Energy (DOE), the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Public Service Commission have joined officials and employees of power company Constellation at Nine Mile Point NPP to mark progress at the first US nuclear-powered clean hydrogen production facility.

Constellation President and CEO Joe Dominguez said: “Building on the vision and strong support from DOE and NYSERDA, we are eager to help develop the technology and infrastructure needed to build a clean hydrogen economy, create jobs and secure our domestic energy security.”

He described the potential uses from the hydrogen technology. “We will make alcohols like ethanol or methanol in some applications. In other applications we’ll blend it into the natural gas pipeline system to begin to reduce the emissions from natural gas while taking advantage of this great pipeline infrastructure we already have.” Dominguez said the plant is exploring hydrogen fuel cell uses which could power large transportation such as big trucks or buses but could also be used for microgrids to power places such as hospitals when the power grid is down. 

Last year, DOE approved construction and installation of an electrolyser system at Nine Mile Point with a $5.8 million award.

In addition, NYSERDA recently announced $12.5 million in funding to help demonstrate hydrogen fuel cell technology at Nine Mile Point.

The hydrogen fuel cell project at Nine Mile Point is currently being designed and is expected to be operational in 2025.

Alice Caponiti, deputy assistant secretary of DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy Office, said: “Nuclear power has historically been known as a baseload energy provider because it is the most reliable clean energy source in the country. As we move forward…nuclear power will evolve to support both firm and flexible capacity and it will play an important role in developing clean hydrogen affordably and at scale.”

Doreen M Harris, president and CEO of NYSERDA said projects such as Nine Mile Point “are critical to ensuring that stored renewable energy and other zero-emission energy sources are available for long periods of time and can be utilised to contribute to a reliable power grid”.

Steve Szymanski, vice president of Nel Hydrogen, the manufacturer of the electrolyser to be used at Nine Mile Point said clean hydrogen “is an emerging industry that will create a lot of jobs and help us lower emissions in industries that produce up to a quarter of global carbon emissions, making it an essential resource in the fight against climate change”.

Pete Orphanos, the site vice president of Nine Mile Point, said the project will “demonstrate the long-term value of these emission free nuclear power plants and how we can use them for other things besides just the generation of electricity for the grid”. 

Image: Leaders from the US DOE, NYSERDA and NYSPSC join officials and employees of Constellation at Nine Mile Point NPP to mark progress at the first US nuclear-powered clean hydrogen production facility