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Nuclear Energy—Hydrogen Production—Fuel Cell: A Road Towards Future China’s Sustainable Energy Strategy

[+] Author Affiliations
Zhiwei Zhou

Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Paper No. ICONE14-89119, pp. 761-767; 7 pages
  • 14th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 3: Structural Integrity; Nuclear Engineering Advances; Next Generation Systems; Near Term Deployment and Promotion of Nuclear Energy
  • Miami, Florida, USA, July 17–20, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4244-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3783-1
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


Sustainable development of Chinese economy in 21st century will mainly rely on self-supply of clean energy with indigenous natural resources. The burden of current coal-dominant energy mix and the environmental stress due to energy consumptions has led nuclear power to be an indispensable choice for further expanding electricity generation capacity in China and for reducing greenhouse effect gases emission. The application of nuclear energy in producing substitutive fuels for road transportation vehicles will also be of importance in future China’s sustainable energy strategy. This paper illustrates the current status of China’s energy supply and the energy demand required for establishing a harmonic and prosperous society in China. In fact China’s energy market faces following three major challenges, namely (1) gaps between energy supply and demand; (2) low efficiency in energy utilization, and (3) severe environmental pollution. This study emphasizes that China should implement sustainable energy development policy and pay great attention to the construction of energy saving recycle economy. Based on current forecast, the nuclear energy development in China will encounter a high-speed track. The demand for crude oil will reach 400–450 million tons in 2020 in which Chinese indigenous production will remain 180 million tons. The increase of the expected crude oil will be about 150 million tons on the basis of 117 million tons of imported oil in 2004 with the time span of 15 years. This demand increase of crude oil certainly will influence China’s energy supply security and to find the substitution will be a big challenge to Chinese energy industry. This study illustrates an analysis of the market demands to future hydrogen economy of China. Based on current status of technology development of HTGR in China, this study describes a road of hydrogen production with nuclear energy. The possible technology choices in relation to a number of types of nuclear reactors are compared and assessed. The analysis shows that only high temperature gas cooled reactor (HTGR) and sodium fast breed reactor might be available in China in 2020 for hydrogen production. Further development of very high temperature gas cooled reactor (VHTR) and gas-cooled fast reactor (GCFR) is necessary to ensure China’s future capability of hydrogen production with nuclear energy as the primary energy. It is obvious that hydrogen production with high efficient nuclear energy will be a suitable strategic technology road, through which future clean vehicles burning hydrogen fuel cells will become dominant in future Chinese transportation industry and will play sound role in ensuring future energy security of China and the sustainable prosperity of Chinese people.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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