Beginning with a £1.6 million ($3.2 million) facility at a BOC hydrogen generation plant in Teeside in the northeast of the country, geopressure energy company 2OC intends to take advantage of the naturally occurring high pressures found in gas fields. Currently, gas arriving from offshore fields at some 80 bar is passed through pressure reduction stations (PRSs) which use a series of valves to reduce pressure to levels suitable for industrial and domestic consumers, wasting the potential energy in the high pressure gas. Instead, 2OC will install turbines within the gas lines, reducing pressure and simultaneously generating energy.

The move follows formal renewable accreditation by regulators Ofgem, allowing the proposed station to qualify for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) which improve the economics of the technology.

Development of the first plant is due to begin in April 2007 with generation expected later in the year from two 500 – 700 kW turbines. The system is expected to supply all on-site requirements for BOC.

There are some 2,000 suitable PRSs in the UK with the potential to generate some 300 MW from 2010 and up to 1 GW by 2015 at a cost of around £1.4 billion (£2.8 billion), the company says. 2OC estimates that such developments could save the UK emissions equating to a minimum of one million tonnes of carbon per year.

The company is backed by chairman Lord Oxburgh, former chairman of Royal Dutch Shell.

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