The contribution of nuclear energy to the generation of pure hydrogen
On 15.06.2020, Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica SA (SNN”) signed, along with other energy companies, research institutes and associations, a joint letter to the attention of the European Commission on the contribution of low carbon sources to hydrogen production, thus leading to the achievement of decarbonisation targets set for 2050.
Currently, the production of hydrogen, necessary in the industry, transport and production of energy is ensured in proportion of 95% by the use of methane gas, which leads to significant CO2 emissions. For every kilogram of hydrogen produced, 10 kilograms of CO2 are emitted.
According to the study conducted by the International Energy Agency in 2019, globally, there is an increase in applications that use hydrogen as well as an increasing demand for hydrogen from clean energy sources, leading to the decarbonization of the electricity generation sector. The potential of hydrogen also lies in its ability to store and deliver clean energy in the network, in order to follow closely the energy needs curve.
The companies and associations that signed the joint letter addressed to the European Commission (to the Vice-President Frans Timmermans and to the Commissioners Kadri Simson, Thierry Breton and Mariya Gabriel) recommend that a number of proposals and principles on clean hydrogen generation be considered in the Energy System Integration Strategy and Clean Hydrogen Strategy documents, which will be issued in the near future by the Commission under the European Green Deal. The proposals consist of encouraging the production and demand of hydrogen from clean sources, which will allow the replacement of hydrogen supplied from sources with significant CO2 emissions currently used in industry and expansion of the use of clean hydrogen in other industrial sectors, with a role in decarbonization.
“Hydrogen production through the use of nuclear energy, greenhouse gas-free energy, is considered by the major producing and consuming companies in Europe as a potential way to recover from the economic crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. These companies, including Nuclearelectrica, recommend that the European Commission introduces into public debate and in future energy policies the essential role of nuclear energy, along with renewable energies, in decarbonizing the energy and industrial sector, including by producing hydrogen through the existing nuclear capacities and through the new ones that will be built in Romania and Europe. Future developments in nuclear energy require the current incurring of investments in both research and development and in building new production capacities and extending the life of the existing ones. The nuclear demonstrates flexibility and versatility through its applications, with an essential role in the economic relaunch of Europe.” – Cosmin Ghita, Chief Executive Officer of Nuclearelectrica.
At European level, nuclear energy provides 50% of the total carbon-free energy produced in the European Union and more than a quarter of the total energy generated, providing 1.1 million jobs and with an annual contribution of 507 billion Euros to the GDP.