Green alliance

BP and GE today announced their intention to jointly develop and deploy hydrogen power projects that reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from electricity generation.

Vivienne Cox, BP’s Chief Executive of Gas, Power and Renewables, and David L. Calhoun, Vice Chairman of GE and president and CEO of GE Infrastructure, signed the agreement today in London.

The world will continue to make extensive use of fossil fuels, such as natural gas and coal, for power generation for the foreseeable future, but technology now allows this to be done more cleanly by creating hydrogen from fossil fuels while capturing and sequestering the carbon as carbon dioxide in deep geological formations. To facilitate this advancement, BP and GE will collaborate on power, carbon capture and sequestration technologies.

BP has already announced plans for two such hydrogen power projects with carbon capture and sequestration in Scotland and California, both of which will use GE technology. Subject to conditions such as appropriate regulatory and fiscal regimes being in place, the companies have an ambition to progress 10 to 15 further projects over the next decade, including the plants in Scotland and California.

Subject to further exploration, the current expectation is that the most appropriate structure may be through creation of a joint venture to invest in hydrogen power projects and a joint development agreement for development of related technology. As a first step, BP and GE would jointly participate in the two hydrogen power projects with carbon capture and sequestration BP has announced – at Peterhead in Scotland and at Carson in Southern California where Scottish and Southern Energy and Edison Mission Energy are partners respectively.

Such low carbon power projects use fossil fuels such as natural gas, petroleum coke or coal for power generation combined with carbon dioxide capture and storage technology. They generate significant quantities of base-load power while capturing and storing some 90% of the carbon dioxide that would otherwise be emitted, in deep geological formations.

“The combination of coal gasification and carbon capture and sequestration is crucial for clean coal development and presents great opportunities for countries with substantial reserves of coal such as the USA, China and India,” said Lewis Gillies, BP’s Director of Hydrogen Power.

“GE and BP are combining our resources to develop economically attractive, breakthrough technologies in the area of hydrogen to power. This will allow power producers to use abundant, low-cost fossil fuel resources to generate electricity with very low carbon dioxide emissions,” added Edward Lowe, general manager of GE Energy’s gasification business.