French, Russian hydrogen production partnership
EDF Group and Rosatom have signed an agreement to jointly promote hydrogen production projects in Russia and Europe. Rosatom said development of hydrogen technologies has an important role to play in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, aimed at keeping the global average temperature increase to below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100.
The Russian nuclear industry has significant technological and research potential, Rosatom said, to develop the main methods of hydrogen production – electrolysis and steam conversion of methane using CO2 capture technologies. Rosatom added it is focused on the development of low-carbon hydrogen production technologies, its storage, as well as participation in pilot hydrogen projects both in Russia and abroad.
In 2019, EDF Group established a specialised branch – Hynamics – through which it will enter the hydrogen energy industry.
Kirill Komarov, first deputy director general of Rosatom for international business, said the state nuclear corporation is “systematically” developing carbon-free generation, and is not limited to its “serious competences” in nuclear power.
“We are ready to become one of the key players in the emerging chains of world production, storage, transportation and consumption of hydrogen,” he said. “In the context of global decarbonisation objectives, hydrogen energy has a really great potential for international cooperation. I am confident that our cooperation with EDF will create a powerful synergistic effect, that will allow us to successfully implement joint hydrogen projects not only in Russia and France, but all over the world.”
Beatrice Buffon, director of international development at EDF, said: “The essence of our company’s work is to create a zero-carbon energy future. That will protect the planet and contribute to social and economic prosperity through electricity and innovative services and solutions. Low-carbon hydrogen production is one of the main ways to achieve energy transition. The agreement with Rosatom, our historic partner in Russia and one of the key players in the field of ‘clean’ hydrogen, clearly demonstrates EDF’s commitment to developing a new energy model with the lowest CO2 emissions in all countries and regions where it is present.”
Hydrogen production increase
Last month, King Lee of the World Nuclear Association told a workshop organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) how nuclear energy can be used to produce low-carbon hydrogen via several efficient processes. Speaking as vice-chair of the UNECE Group of Experts on Cleaner Electricity Systems, Lee said nuclear energy can generate low-carbon hydrogen via a number of different ways. These include: low-temperature water electrolysis using nuclear electricity; steam electrolysis using nuclear-generated electricity and heat; and thermochemical processes using nuclear heat. He said another process – steam reforming of methane – is not low-carbon. But the use of nuclear heat to provide the thermal energy needed would reduce natural gas consumption by about 30%.
According to a report published today by the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) – Making the Hydrogen Economy Possible: Accelerating clean hydrogen in an electrified economy – a net zero greenhouse gas emissions economy by mid-century will likely need to use about 500 to 800 million tonnes of clean hydrogen per annum, a 5-7 fold increase compared to hydrogen use today. ETC comprises more than 45 leaders from global energy producers, energy industries, financial institutions and environmental advocates.