The feasibility study shows Rolls-Royce SMRs could provide an advantage over other energy sources in producing low-carbon hydrogen.

A joint feasibility study from Rolls-Royce SMR and global business and investment company, Sumitomo Corporation, shows Rolls-Royce SMRs (Small Modular Reactors) could provide a significant advantage over other energy sources in producing low-carbon hydrogen.

Rolls-Royce SMR’s ‘factory-built’ nuclear power plant will produce 470MW of low-carbon electricity, but its compact footprint and flexible modular design means it can be located alongside energy intensive industrial processes — including hydrogen production. For the production of hydrogen via Solid Oxide Electrolytic Cell (SOEC) technology, it is possible to use the thermal output of the power plant to radically boost the overall efficiency of the hydrogen production cycle.

This study analysed the use of both heat and power from the Rolls-Royce SMR to run electrolysers to produce low-carbon hydrogen. The detailed independent study was produced using real-world data and found that – when cost, availability and carbon emissions are taken into consideration – hydrogen production powered by a Rolls-Royce SMR has the greatest overall advantage compared to all other available sources.

Harry Keeling, Rolls-Royce SMR’s Head of Industrial Markets, said:

“This is an exciting move forward for Rolls-Royce SMR and Sumitomo Corporation. The potential for the Rolls-Royce SMR to be used for industrial purposes is one of its greatest strengths — being able to deliver large amounts of low- carbon, always-on power, but being flexible enough to be located close to where industry needs it. The production of low-cost hydrogen is a critical step on the pathway to decarbonising our wider society.”

Earlier this year, the Rolls-Royce SMR design successfully progressed to the second step of the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) by the UK’s independent regulators which reinforced its position as the SMR design that’s furthest advanced towards being deployed in the UK.

Sumitomo Corporation will now use the report to support site suitability work and develop its understanding around the potential for using Rolls-Royce SMRs alongside clean hydrogen production facilities in the UK.