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November 7, 2023

Topsoe cooperates with ULC-ENERGY and Rolls-Royce SMR on Nuclear Hydrogen Production

  • Topsoe has signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) with ULC-Energy and Rolls-Royce SMR to jointly investigate the production of hydrogen using Topsoe’s Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC) technology and electricity and heat produced from a Rolls-Royce SMR nuclear power plant
  • Under the MOI, the parties will also prepare a valuation of the operational flexibility of the Rolls-Royce SMR/Topsoe SOEC combination in the future energy market based primarily on renewable energy
  • Initially, the parties are looking at a conceptual study to demonstrate synergies between SMR and SOEC.

Topsoe, a global leader in carbon emission reduction technologies, ULC-Energy, a
nuclear energy development and consultancy company, and Rolls-Royce SMR, which delivers nuclear Small Modular Reactor (SMR) solutions, announce the signing of an MOI to investigate the production of hydrogen based on SOEC technology and electricity and heat from an SMR nuclear power plant.

Hydrogen produced based on nuclear has significantly lower carbon intensity compared to conventional hydrogen and can therefore contribute to lowering global greenhouse gas emissions in heavy-industry and long-distance transportation.

Sundus Cordelia Ramli, CCO Power-to-X, at Topsoe said:
"We’re excited to investigate the potential of hydrogen from nuclear SMR’s and our SOEC electrolysis technology together with ULC-Energy and Rolls-Royce SMR. With our SOEC technology, we can produce more hydrogen relative to influx of renewable power input when compared to competing electrolysis technologies. To enable net zero by 2050, we need to look into all possible technologies, and we’re confident that our electrolysis technology will be one of the key components in the race for net-zero.”

Dirk Rabelink, CEO of ULC-Energy, said:
“Hydrogen will play an increasingly important role in balancing future energy markets. We expect nuclear energy, especially in combination with high temperature electrolysis, to be able to produce zero-emission hydrogen competitively on a stand-alone basis. Additional value associated with the operational flexibility will further enhance the business case for this solution. We are particularly pleased that this study has been made possible by the support from a number of national and international companies.”

Harry Keeling, Rolls-Royce SMR’s Head of Industrial Markets, said:
“The production of low-cost hydrogen is a critical step on the pathway to decarbonising our wider society. This agreement with ULC-Energy and Topsoe is an exciting step toward unleashing the potential of the Rolls-Royce SMR as its ability to flexibly provide thermal and electrical energy supports a wide range of industrial applications, chief amongst these being the large-scale generation of low-cost hydrogen.”

Nuclear energy combined with SOEC technology has the potential to produce hydrogen more cheaply than alternative electrolysis processes because: 1) The electrolysis takes place at a high temperature, which means that less electricity is needed to produce hydrogen; 2) The nuclear power plants can produce energy on average up to 95% of the time, significantly higher than alternative variable energy sources; 3) Nuclear energy can supply heat as well as electricity. By using heat directly, energy losses in the steam turbine can be avoided thus increasing the effective energy capacity of the nuclear power plant above its electric power rating.

Furthermore, the Rolls-Royce SMR nuclear power plant can, when required, switch to deliver power to the grid, providing back-up to variable power sources when these sources are not available. This is expected to be a competitive solution compared to alternatives, like long duration energy storage solutions or hydrogen combustion for electricity generation. The cooperation will include a valuation of the operational flexibility of the Rolls-Royce SMR/Topsoe SOEC combination in the future energy market.

About SMR
Small modular reactors (SMR’s) are advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300 MW(e) per unit, which is about one-third of the generating capacity of traditional nuclear power reactors. SMR’s, which can produce a large amount of low-carbon electricity, are: 1) Small in size – physically a fraction of the size of a conventional nuclear power reactor; 2) Modular, which makes it possible for systems and components to be factory-assembled and transported as a unit to a location for installation; 3) Reactors harnessing nuclear fission to generate heat to produce energy.

About SOEC
Topsoe’s SOEC electrolysis technology is a modular design that leverages high-temperature electrolysis – a tested and proven process that enables industrial-scale production of hydrogen using renewable electricity. Due to the nature of the high-temperature electrolysis, Topsoe’s SOEC technology produces more hydrogen per total power input when compared to conventional electrolyzer technologies.

Additionally, when coupled with waste heat-producing technologies (such as those used in ammonia, methanol, or steel production), SOEC allows for the lowest levelized hydrogen cost with the highest level of energy efficiency per megawatt volume, no matter the industry.

About ULC-Energy

ULC-Energy is a nuclear energy development and consultancy company, established in 2021 in The Netherlands and based in Amsterdam. ULC-Energy's mission is to accelerate decarbonisation in the Netherlands by developing nuclear energy projects that efficiently integrate in residential and industrial energy networks. In August 2022, ULC-Energy selected the Rolls Royce SMR as its nuclear technology solution.

About Rolls-Royce SMR
Rolls-Royce SMR uses established nuclear technology and know-how to offer a low cost, deliverable, global & scalable and investable solution, that can be rolled out around the world. The company is majority owned by Rolls-Royce PLC. Rolls-Royce SMR is a 470 MW pressurised water reactor that is manufactured in modules in central factories that are assembled under a turnkey contract on the customer site. The design has successfully completed step 1 of the UK Generic Design Assessment and is currently progressing with step 2.

About Topsoe
Topsoe is a leading global provider of technology and solutions for the energy transition. We combat climate change by helping our customers and partners achieve their decarbonization and emission reduction goals. 

Based on decades of scientific research and innovation, we offer world leading solutions for transforming renewable resources into fuels and chemicals for a sustainable world, and for efficient and low-carbon fuel production and clean air.

We are founded in 1940 and headquartered in Denmark, with over 2,800 employees serving customers all around the globe. To learn more, visit  

For more information, please contact:
Ulrik Frøhlke, Media Relations Manager
Phone: +45 27 77 99 68 

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