Green alliance

GE and BP have formed an alliance to develop and deploy technology for at least five power plants that could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from electricity generation.

GE and BP’s global alliance will work to facilitate the development, demonstration and full integration of gasification and power generation technology into hydrogen power projects. These projects combine power generation from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage to deliver commercial-scale power generation with 90 percent of the carbon in the fuel — which otherwise would have been emitted to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide — captured and permanently stored deep underground. In some cases, injection of captured carbon dioxide into oil reservoirs for storage also may result in the production of otherwise unrecoverable oil. For these enhanced oil recovery applications, the carbon dioxide has significant value, which helps make carbon capture and storage economically viable.

Initially, the companies expect to work together to apply GE’s proprietary gasification and turbine technology to the development of five hydrogen power plants that would use petroleum coke or bituminous coal as feedstock. As a first step, BP and GE would expect the petroleum coke-fuelled project being planned at Carson in California, where Edison Mission Energy is Hydrogen Energy’s partner, to use GE technology.

BP recently announced its intention to form, subject to regulatory approval, Hydrogen Energy, a new company to be jointly-owned with Rio Tinto, to identify, build and operate hydrogen power plants with carbon capture and storage. GE and BP – through Hydrogen Energy – will apply their technologies, project experience and assets to optimise the integrated design of hydrogen power projects.

Each commercial-scale hydrogen power plant is expected to generate about 500 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power approximately 325,000 US homes. One of these 500 megawatt power plants, fed by coal with 90 percent carbon capture and geological storage, would be expected to capture around four million tons of carbon dioxide a year, the same amount as would be achieved by removing 615,000 cars from the road in the United States.