CA's Hydrogen Energy Power Plant Applies For Certification

HECA, the Hydrogen Energy California project, will do much more than burn H2 to produce 300 megawatts of emission-free electricity. This U.S. Dept. of Energy-backed project will store (sequester) carbon underground in Kern County's oil fields.

HECA is one of 18 projects "administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) under its Clean Coal Power Initiative. "Essential to the project will be the demonstration of the process know as "carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS)".

On May 3, the owner, SCS Energy, filed with the CA Energ Commission and application for certification of the plant.  Next step will be to participate in a 'permitting workshop'. 

"HECA is an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle project that will manufacture hydrogen to be used to generate nearly 300 megawatts of low-carbon electricity and to produce low-carbon nitrogen based products, such as fertilizers"

The primary fuels or ‘feedstock' to produce the hydrogen will be coal imported by rail from New Mexico supplemented by petroleum coke, a by-product of the oil refining process, shipped from southern CA refineries as the two nearby refineries do not produce coke.

The captured CO2 from the coal gasification will be injected into the adjacent  Elk Hills oil field to obtain "stranded oil", a process called enhanced oil recovery.  The carbon remains in the oil fields, thus explaining, in part, the term "clean coal".


Thanks to Kevin Hall

Full Story: Hydrogen Energy California Project Moves Forward



Irvin Dawid's picture

H2 burned in power plant may not be 'emission-free' as indicated

Apologies to air quality specialists - there is a major distinction between hydrogen used in fuel cells vs. burned in power plants in terms of emissions.

In any case, the "reduced emissions" for HECA are carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions, not conventional pollutants, particularly nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter, which I hope to eventually document. HECA will "emit less greenhouse gases than comparably-sized natural gas combined cycle power plants " (HECA Project Facts, Nov. 2011).

"The power and products produced by HECA have a lower carbon footprint compared to power and products produced from more traditional fossil fuel facilities". (executive summary)

Clean Energy???

"The primary fuels or ‘feedstock’ to produce the hydrogen will be coal imported by rail from New Mexico"

Somehow, I suspect it would be cleaner and cheaper to build solar power in New Mexico (where there is plenty of sun) and ship the electricity to California.

This sounds like a desperate attempt to preserve the coal industry.

Charles Siegel

Irvin Dawid's picture

Emission-free solar energy not so easy either

Seems like a day doesn't pass when you don't hear about environmental objections to clean solar energy.
On May 11, LA Times reported on such a project in CA's Mojave Desert:
"The nation's leading environmental groups see K Road Power's proposed 663-megawatt Calico Solar plant as one of the most ecologically damaging renewable energy projects in the California desert."
When it comes to energy, there may be 'emissions-free' or close to it, but rarely is there 'controversy-free'.
Just try putting up solar panels and then finding you've upset your neighbors on homeowners association! And don't dare cut down a tree to enable your PV to be more productive!

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