Photo: Bloom Electrolyzer. Courtesy of Bloom Energy

Bloom Energy’s electrolyzer to produce zero-carbon hydrogen at nuclear facility

California-based green energy company Bloom Energy plans to install an electrolyzer at Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant in Minnesota and produce cost-effective clean hydrogen.

According to Bloom Energy, the installation will augment existing clean energy nuclear infrastructure to create immediate and scalable pathways to produce cost-efficient, clean hydrogen, supporting the growing hydrogen economy while enhancing value for operators of zero-carbon nuclear facilities.

Bloom Energy’s electrolyzer is built on its solid oxide platform and operates at high temperatures to convert water into hydrogen.

As explained, the high heat and steam produced by Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island facility will feed into Bloom Energy’s electrolyzer to produce zero-carbon hydrogen more efficiently than low-temperature electrolysis alternatives like polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) or alkaline.

These low-temperature alternatives require roughly 40% more electricity, providing the Bloom electrolyzer with an efficiency advantage that is expected to drive down the cost of hydrogen production.

The company informed that the engineering for the 240 kW demonstration is currently underway, with construction expected to begin in late 2023 and power-on scheduled for early 2024.

“Xcel Energy’s nuclear power plants already play a vital role in our energy mix, delivering clean, reliable and affordable power for our customers while avoiding hundreds of millions of tons of emissions”, said Peter Gardner, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer at Xcel Energy. “This project will provide a … opportunity to better understand how our existing nuclear plants can contribute to the development of hydrogen technologies and build a carbon-free future.”

Rick Beuttel, vice president of hydrogen business at Bloom Energy, added: “Combined with Xcel Energy’s nuclear infrastructure, Bloom Energy’s solid oxide platform – which offers exceptional efficiency – can help us achieve our shared goal of an accessible net-zero future through low-cost, zero-carbon hydrogen.”

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