The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) said on 22 April that they had been commissioned by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to develop hydrogen production. The hydrogen mass production technology demonstration project will begin this year using the High Temperature Engineering Test Reactor High Temperature Gas Reactor (HTTR). A hydrogen production facility will be connected to the HTTR owned by JAEA to develop hydrogen production technology utilising the reactor’s high temperature heat.
“We will carry out the conversion, licensing procedure, equipment modification and testing in stages,” JAEA said. Japan’s "Basic Energy Plan" (decided by the Cabinet in October 2021) states that high-temperature gas should be used for carbon-free hydrogen production. In addition, the "Green Growth Strategy for 2050 Carbon Neutral" (established in June 2021), specifies the need to use the HTTR to produce large quantities and inexpensive carbon-free hydrogen by 2030. “It is our policy to develop various technologies.” JAEA noted.
ANRE started a public solicitation for the demonstration project in February. “We have selected a consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is conducting technical studies on hydrogen production using the mechanism and high-temperature gas reactors, as the contractor for this business,” said JAEA.
The first stage of this project will include the design the HTTR-hydrogen production test facility that connects the HTTR and the hydrogen production plant, and study the development plan of equipment such as high-temperature isolation valves for the demonstration reactor. “In addition, we will investigate carbon-free hydrogen production technologies that can utilise the high-temperature heat of high-temperature gas reactors, and consider hydrogen production methods that can be expected to improve hydrogen production efficiency by comparing each technology.”