Experimental Reactors of BARC and IGCAR to be used for Hydrogen Pilot Plants

Space & Technology India

Experimental Reactors of BARC and IGCAR to be used for Hydrogen Pilot Plants

Technology News ,India :- The Department of Atomic Energy in India is devising a strategy to convert two experimental reactors into pilot plants for generating nuclear-powered green hydrogen. One of these reactors, the Indian High-Temperature Reactor (IHRT), created by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in the mid-2000s, was initially designed for hydrogen production through a thermochemical process, utilizing heat to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The IHRT was engineered to produce 7,000 kg of hydrogen, 18 MWh (thermal) of energy per hour, and 9 million liters of desalinated water daily.

Presented at a conference in Oarai, Japan, on April 16, 2007, BARC scientists I V Dulera and R K Sinha described the IHTR as a 600 MW (thermal) reactor capable of generating 1,000 degrees Celsius of heat.

The second reactor under modification is the 40 MW (thermal) Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) of the Indira Gandhi Center for Atomic Research (IGCAR). Originally established to gain operational insights into fast breeder reactors, the FBTR is now being adapted for green hydrogen production. Notably, the knowledge gained from FBTR operations is contributing to the development of the 500 MW "prototype fast breeder reactor" (PFBR) near Chennai, expected to be operational in 2024 after over two decades of construction.

Simultaneously, IGCAR is focusing on the development of a 100 MW "small modular reactor" (SMR). This aligns with the global trend of exploring SMRs for decentralized electricity generation. SMRs can be conveniently located on the premises of retired thermal power plants, leveraging existing infrastructure for power evacuation and materials movement.

The Indian government is actively promoting SMRs, and discussions at various energy conferences include the potential configuration of IHRT and FBTR as SMRs. This transformative initiative underscores India commitment to sustainable energy practices and signifies a noteworthy step towards harnessing nuclear power for the production of green hydrogen.

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