US hydrogen power plant agreement

The US Department of Energy has signed an agreement with Hydrogen Energy California to build and demonstrate a hydrogen-powered power station and CCS system in Kern County, California.


The US Department of Energy has signed an agreement with Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) to build and demonstrate a hydrogen-powered electric generating facility, as well as carbon capture and storage, in Kern County, California.



HECA, which is owned by Hydrogen Energy International, BP Alternative Energy and Rio Tinto, plans to construct an advanced integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant that will produce power by converting fuel — a blend of 75 per cent coal and 25 per cent petroleum coke — into hydrogen and CO2.



The hydrogen will be used to fuel a combustion turbine, enabling net generation of 250MW of electricity, which is claimed to be enough power for more than 150,000 homes.



Approximately 90 per cent of the CO2 produced from the gasification process (approximately two million tons per year) will be transported via pipeline to the nearby Elk Hills oilfield where it will be sequestered.



The estimated capital cost for the project is approximately $2.3bn (£1.4bn). Sequestration of two million tons per year of CO2 is slated to begin by 2016.