Aqueous Homogeneous Reactor for Hydrogen Production

  • W. Kerr
  • D. P. Majumdar


Hydrogen production by radiolysis of water in aqueous reactors is described. We consider three reactor designs and discuss the essential features of each. The use of thermal neutron leakage into an aqueous blanket surrounding the main power generating part of the reactor is treated. We elaborate on the potential of a low power reactor for production of hydrogen. The amount of hydrogen produced is given approximately by 40 PfG lbs/day, where P is the thermal power of the reactor in megawatts, f is the fraction of thermal energy available for water decomposition and G is the total molecular yield of hydrogen per 100 eV of deposited energy. Since G does not change appreciably with temperature hydrogen production of the reactor is nearly temperature independent.

The design of a system to extract the hydrogen generated by the fission fragments and other charged particles is considered. Particular attention must be given to an explosive mixture of hydrogen and other compounds produced and the possibility of loss of hydrogen by recombination.

It is shown that the energy efficiency of hydrogen production by such a reactor is given approximately by 3.0 fG%. Since G is small, a reactor built entirely for hydrogen production is perhaps not economical from an energy conservation viewpoint. However, a reasonable G factor makes it financially attractive because no turbine-generator or electrolysis equipment is required.

We note that the radioactive waste problem may be less serious because a considerable amount of the radioactive waste may be used in producing hydrogen. Finally, we discuss parallel uses of a low power reactor while generating hydrogen. We conclude that the concept of hydrogen production by an aqueous reactor has sufficient potential to warrant additional detailed consideration.


Power Reactor Hydrogen Molecule Fission Fragment Homogeneous Reactor Aqueous Reactor 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Kerr
    • 1
  • D. P. Majumdar
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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