Nuclear and hydrogen are two clean technologies that can help us make big reductions in carbon emissions. Nuclear generates always-on low carbon power and for years has provided around 20% of the UK’s electricity. Hydrogen only produces water when it burns and has great potential as a clean fuel for transport, industry, and home heating.
Nuclear and hydrogen are both big priorities for the Government. They were included in the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the 2020 Energy White Paper.
While both technologies are vital on their own, at Sizewell C we have an exciting vision to bring them together.
Reliable low carbon power
Nuclear is a great way of producing hydrogen as it generates huge amounts of reliable, low carbon energy. One of the best ways of producing hydrogen is by splitting water molecules using an electrolyser. Using low carbon nuclear energy to power the electrolyser means we can produce so-called green hydrogen which has no carbon emissions.
At Sizewell C, we are exploring how we can produce and use hydrogen in several ways. Firstly, it could help lower emissions during construction of the power station. Secondly, once Sizewell C is operational, we hope to use some of the heat it generates (alongside electricity) to make hydrogen more efficiently.
Sizewell C is launching a demonstrator project to produce hydrogen powered by electricity from neighbouring Sizewell B. Initially, a 2MW electrolyser could potentially produce up to 800kg of hydrogen per day (or c. 290,000 kgs per year). This will be scaled up to meet demand.
The hydrogen produced could power vehicles and machinery to lower emissions during the construction of Sizewell C. Hydrogen from this demonstrator could also be used for some public transport, such as local buses.