Bloom Energy (NYSE: BE) is trying to prove the validity of long-term hydrogen production using nuclear energy. The company announces plans to install an electrolyzer at the Xcel Energy (NASDAQ:XEL) Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant in Welch, Minnesota.
Bloom is currently engineering a 240 kW demonstration with construction expected to begin in late 2023 and power-on anticipated in early 2024.
The installation will use existing clean energy nuclear infrastructure as an energy source needed to create immediate and scalable pathway to producing cost-efficient, clean hydrogen.
Bloom Energy Electrolyzer is deemed by the company as an energy efficient product that produces zero emissions hydrogen. The secret is that when it operates at high temperatures when electricity is the sole input source, it consumes 15% less energy than other electrolyzer technologies on the market.
The Bloom Electrolyzer can also leverage both heat and electricity for the production of hydrogen, unlike low-temperature PEM and alkaline electrolyzers. When external heat is provided, Bloom Energy’s technology has the potential to use up to 45% less electricity compared to low-temperature PEM and alkaline electrolyzers. That efficiency makes it a highly competitive product in the electrolyzers market.
The company will integrate the high heat and steam produced by Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island facility into its electrolyzer to produce zero-carbon hydrogen more efficiently. Bloom’s installation will aim to demonstrate how electrolyzers can leverage the energy output from nuclear to support hydrogen production even during extreme weather conditions.
“In today’s climate of extreme weather, fluctuating costs, and global energy insecurity, hydrogen offers unmatched potential to leverage existing infrastructure for clean, abundant energy. 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,” said Rick Beuttel, vice president, hydrogen business, Bloom Energy.