The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Xcel Energy will build a pilot hydrogen plant in Minnesota, either at Prairie Island Nuclear Station in Red Wing or Monticello Nuclear Station in Monticello. This is an effort to bolster the long-term viability of atomic power in order to produce hydrogen. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has given Xcel a $10.5 million grant to fund the idea. Xcel will invest $2 million of their own money into the project.
Hydrogen is used in many industrial markets including oil refineries and fertilizer production. It could also have a main role in hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles. Construction of the project is expected to start in 2022 with an online date in 2023. Xcel would use the electrolysis process that utilizes an electric current to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. It will be high temperature electrolysis as the station will use steam from its nuclear power production. Economical hydrogen production could create additional revenue to help the nuclear plant in a time of economic disadvantage.