Canadian Consulting Engineer

New lab for nuclear hydrogen opens

September 13, 2010
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The Canadian Snowbirds demonstration team soared over the official opening of the Clean Energy Research Labora...

The Canadian Snowbirds demonstration team soared over the official opening of the Clean Energy Research Laboratory (CERL) at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa last week. The facility has the first lab-scale demonstration of a copper-chlorine cycle for thermo chemical water splitting and nuclear hydrogen production.
Many hope that hydrogen will be the fuel of the future, but the challenge is to find a sustainable, efficient method of producing hydrogen in large capacities. UOIT’s Dr. Greg Naterer, associate dean in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is leading a consortium of more than 30 researchers representing eight universities that is developing a copper-chlorine cycle for producing hydrogen from nuclear energy.
“Using nuclear, solar or other heat sources such as waste heat from industrial plant emissions, the copper-chlorine cycle promises to achieve much higher efficiencies, lower environmental impact and lower costs of hydrogen production than any other existing technology,” said Dr. Naterer.
The waste product of burning hydrogen is simply water. As a mass-scale carrier of energy, hydrogen use would eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and pollution from fossil fuels and is safer than gasoline, diesel and other non-renewable energy sources.
As a direct result of research led by UOIT, other countries have started copper-chlorine cycle programs for hydrogen production including France, Romania, England, India and China.
Worley Parsons were the prime consultants for the facility, which was constructed in an existing 8,000 sq.ft. metal building on campus. The existing building was gutted and the interior was reconstructed with six major laboratories and four offices on one floor. The hydrogen laboratory has 8-inch thick reinforced concrete walls to resist blasts. The building’s new HVAC system delivers 6 air changes per hour, 600-850 cfm per laboratory.
CERL’s partnering institutions include Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL; Chalk River, Ontario), Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne, Illinois, USA), the University of Guelph, the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo and the University of Western Ontario.
Research conducted at CERL is funded by AECL, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, Phoenix Canada Oil Limited, Canada Research Chairs program, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Marnoch Thermal Power Inc., Ontario Centres of Excellence, and the Ontario Power Authority.
The CERL houses externally funded research projects valued at more than $5.5 million.
Located to the east of Toronto along Lake Ontario, UOIT is Ontario’s newest university and has several large scale laboratories either recently built or under construction on campus.


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