The plant, to be located near Bakersfield, in Kern County, California, will be designed to capture up to 90% of its carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery and sequestration in an adjacent oil field.

HEI is a joint venture between BP Alternative Energy and multinational mining company Rio Tinto Hydrogen. In 2007, GE and BP formed a global alliance to jointly develop and deploy technology for at least five IGCC power plants that could reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation. The Hydrogen Energy California County project will be the first power plant to be built under that alliance.

As reported, IGCC plants have been deployed worldwide and have demonstrated the capability to reduce emissions. The technology converts solid fuels, such as coal, into a cleaner burning hydrogen-rich fuel, which then is used by a gas turbine combined-cycle system to generate electricity.

The technology proposed for the Hydrogen Energy California plant would convert petroleum coke, coal or a combination of each into a synthesis gas (syngas). Chemical scrubbers would filter out pollutants and would separate CO2, leaving a hydrogen-rich fuel to power the gas turbine combined-cycle system. The carbon captured from the plant would be piped to an adjacent oil field, where it would be used for enhanced oil recovery and sequestration operations.

Monte Atwell, general manager of gasification at GE Energy, said: “This is a homecoming of sorts for GE and IGCC technology. GE technology was involved in the first IGCC pilot plant in Barstow, California, and we are pleased to be deploying the next generation of this technology to deliver low carbon power to the people of Southern California.”