The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) last week signed a cooperative agreement with Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) to build and demonstrate a $2.3 billion hydrogen-powered electric generating facility, complete with carbon capture and storage, in Kern County, Calif.

HECA—owned by Hydrogen Energy International, BP Alternative Energy, and coal company Rio Tinto—plans to construct an advanced integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant that will produce power by converting fuel—a blend of 75% coal and 25% petroleum coke—into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The hydrogen will be used to fuel a combustion turbine, enabling net electricity generation of 250 MW.

Approximately 90% of the CO2 produced from the gasification process, or about 2 million tons per year, will be transported via pipeline to the Elk Hills oilfield, less than four miles away, for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), the DOE said. The proposed plant is also expected to maximize use of non-potable water for its power production needs and enable additional oil production (through EOR).

The project is part of the Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI), a cost-shared collaboration between the federal government and private industry to increase investment in low-emission coal technology by demonstrating advanced coal-based power generation technologies prior to commercial deployment. The project will be cost-shared and administered by the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

The federal cost-share is limited to $308 million, or just under 11% of the total project costs. The project consists of three phases: project definition (Phase I), design and construction (Phase II), and demonstration (Phase III). Sequestration of 2 million tons per year of CO2 is slated to begin by 2016.

Source: DOE