Life-cycle environmental assessment of the nuclear production of hydrogen using the sulfur-iodine cycle


Lattin, William C.. (2008). Life-cycle environmental assessment of the nuclear production of hydrogen using the sulfur-iodine cycle. Theses and Dissertations Collection, University of Idaho Library Digital Collections.

Life-cycle environmental assessment of the nuclear production of hydrogen using the sulfur-iodine cycle
Lattin, William C.
Hydrogen--Production standards--Environmental aspects Hydrogen cars--Environmental aspects
Environmental Science
The threat of global warming due to greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere has prompted reexamination of the use of fossil fuels for transportation. Several alternative fuels are proposed including ethanol, bio-fuels, hydrogen, and others. Each has advantages and disadvantages, primary energy requirements and environmental emissions. Life-cycle environmental assessments have been performed on a number of alternative fuels. As an energy carrier, hydrogen produced using nuclear energy appears to be the most promising based on lowest greenhouse gas emissions.;The U.S. Congress established a goal of 2.5 million light-duty passenger vehicles powered by hydrogen on the road by 2020. Using hydrogen instead of petroleum-based fuel will reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by over 99 percent. However, progress toward that goal has been less than desired from the aspects of nuclear reactor development and construction, fuel-cell vehicle development and deployment, and infrastructure development.;The U.S. Department of Energy has selected the sulfur-iodine thermochemical cycle, coupled with a very high-temperature nuclear reactor, as a candidate process for the production of hydrogen. Thermochemical water-splitting processes generate no greenhouse gas emissions during operation unlike the current method of hydrogen production from steam reforming of methane from natural gas. However, nuclear-hydrogen plant construction, nuclear fuel fabrication, installation and operation, as well as raw material and chemical inventories deplete natural resources, consume energy, and emit greenhouse gases. A cradle-to-grave life-cycle assessment of the sulfur-iodine process is performed with respect to significant environmental aspects using the international standard for life-cycle environmental assessment, ISO-14040. Production of hydrogen using the sulfur-iodine process results in emission of 2500g CO{esc}b2{esc}s/kg H{esc}b2{esc}s, much lower greenhouse gas emissions than steam reforming of methane.;Lack of progress on the design and construction of a very high-temperature nuclear reactor has hindered development of the sulfur-iodine cycle. When the heat source and the production method are developed and tested, implementation of the hydrogen economy will require an aggressive construction schedule to build the number of nuclear-hydrogen plants required in the time necessary.
Thesis (Ph. D., Environmental Science)--University of Idaho, July 2008.
Major Professor:
Vivek P. Utgikar.
Defense Date:
July 2008.
Format Original:
xi, 120 leaves :ill. ;29 cm.

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