New York Power Plant Makes Hydrogen History

April 24, 2023 by Dan McCue
New York Power Plant Makes Hydrogen History
Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station (Constellation Energy photo)

OSWEGO, N.Y. — The Nine Mile Point Nuclear Power Station on Lake Ontario in New York is the first facility of its kind in the U.S. to produce clean hydrogen using nuclear power. 

The milestone was achieved as part of a $14.5 million cost-shared project between the U.S. Department of Energy and Constellation Energy Corporation to demonstrate how nuclear power plants can help lower the cost and scale up the production of clean hydrogen. 

Constellation is now using the hydrogen generated on site to help cool the power plant.

“This accomplishment tangibly demonstrates that our nation’s existing reactor fleet can produce clean hydrogen today,” said Dr. Kathryn Huff, assistant secretary for Nuclear Energy. “DOE is proud to support cost-shared projects like this to deliver affordable clean hydrogen. 

“The investments we’re starting to make now through the bipartisan infrastructure law and Inflation Reduction Act will further expand the clean hydrogen market to create new economic and environmental benefits for nuclear energy,” Huff said.

To bring the project to fruition, the Energy Department helped support the construction and installation of a low-temperature electrolysis system at the Nine Mile Point nuclear power plant that leverages the facility’s existing hydrogen storage system.

Constellation’s new Hydrogen Generation System produces hydrogen without emissions by using electricity generated at the plant to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The system started producing clean hydrogen in February to supply hydrogen for plant operations — a process that was previously dependent on trucked-in deliveries of hydrogen made from fossil fuels. 

“Hydrogen will be an indispensable tool in solving the climate crisis, and Nine Mile Point is going to show the world that nuclear power is the most efficient and cost-effective way to make it from a carbon-free resource,” said Joe Dominguez, president and CEO of Constellation.

“In partnership with DOE and others, we see this technology creating a pathway to decarbonizing industries that remain heavily reliant on fossil fuels, while creating clean-energy jobs and strengthening domestic energy security,” Dominguez said.

At present, about 95% of the hydrogen produced in the United States is sourced from fossil fuels — opening up new market opportunities for nuclear energy.

The Hydrogen Generation System at Nine Mile Point is one of four projects supported by the Energy Department to demonstrate clean hydrogen production at commercial nuclear power plants.

In addition to these demonstrations, DOE is investing billions through the bipartisan infrastructure law and Inflation Reduction Act to develop and mature clean hydrogen production in the U.S. to help lower emissions and create new job opportunities for American workers.

It also supports the department’s Hydrogen Shot goal of reducing the cost of hydrogen by 80% to $1 per 1 kilogram in the next decade.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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