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SwRI to provide hydrogen technology information report

San Antonio -- August 28, 2006 -- Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) is preparing a report describing and evaluating the status and future prospects for generating automotive-fuel hydrogen using power from nuclear reactors.

The report, due out in December 2006, focuses on hydrogen generation and reactor technologies that are likely to be deployed within the next 50 years in the United States. It also considers international programs for developing a hydrogen economy, in which the United States will be expected to play a major role.

"This report is the first of its kind to examine the role of nuclear power in supplying hydrogen for future automobiles," said Joe Redfield, manager with SwRI's Engine, Emissions and Vehicle Research Division. "It will also provide the first look at the kinds of nuclear power plants it will take to generate hydrogen economically."

Among issues to be examined are the compatibility of hydrogen production with nuclear-powered electricity generation, the regulatory framework for licensing the plants, and environmental and infrastructure demands involved in the construction or modification of such plants.

SwRI will review technical literature to identify hydrogen production technologies that would be compatible with, or require energy from, a nuclear reactor. The Institute team next will review the fission reactor design and operating parameters that would be compatible with hydrogen generation technologies. The evaluation will focus on reactor designs that are judged to dominate the available and demonstrable technologies for the 50-year time horizon being evaluated.

Various possible combinations of hydrogen generation technologies, reactor designs, deployment strategies and infrastructure demands for producing hydrogen as an automotive fuel will affect the prospects for developing such facilities. SwRI will identify issues that need to be considered to more fully characterize the prospect for actual deployment of such facilities.

SwRI will provide a summary of U.S. research programs relating to nuclear power generators and hydrogen production and evaluate how the programs might support realization of U.S. hydrogen automotive fuel infrastructure.

Finally, the team will produce a report summarizing results of the SwRI evaluation.
The report is a joint effort of SwRI's Geosciences and Engineering Division, the Engine, Emissions and Vehicle Research Division and the Materials Engineering Department of the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Division. When the report is published, interested parties may obtain a copy for a $50,000 fee.

For more information about the hydrogen technology information program, contact Cheuk Ng at (210) 522-3311 or cheuk.ng@swri.org. For more information contact Joe Fohn at (210) 522-4630, Communications Department, Southwest Research Institute, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510.

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