Environmental Protection

IGCC Technology Slated for Calif. Project

GE Energy has signed a technology licensing agreement with Hydrogen Energy for a proposed 250-megawatt power plant that would use integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) technology, a product of ecomagination.

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

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

HEI is a joint venture of 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 dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation. The Hydrogen Energy California County project would be the first power plant built under that alliance.

"Offering further proof that IGCC with carbon capture and storage (CCS) is viable commercial technology, this plant could become a model for new power generating facilities worldwide and help position the United States as a leader in low carbon power generation," said Jonathan Briggs, regional director of the Americas for Hydrogen Energy.

IGCC 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, providing a cleaner, economical coal-to-power option. IGCC also significantly reduces criteria emissions—sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, mercury and particulate matter—and decreases water consumption by up to 30 percent (as compared to a conventional coal plant).

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 carbon dioxide, 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.

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