GE Energy has signed a technology licensing agreement with Hydrogen Energy (HEI) for a proposed 250-megawatt power plant that would use integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) technology. The plant, to be located near Bakersfield, in Kern County, Calif., would be designed to capture up to 90% of its carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery and sequestration in an adjacent oil field. (Earlier post.)
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 significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation. The Hydrogen Energy California County project would be the first power plant built under that alliance.
IGCC plants gasify solid fuels into syngas, 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% (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 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.
GE Energy has been developing IGCC technology for more than two decades. GE technology was involved in several milestone projects, including the pilot IGCC plant, Coolwater, in Barstow, Calif., and the Polk Tampa Electric IGCC plant in Florida, that helped demonstrate the commercial feasibility of IGCC. GE also is supplying IGCC technology for Duke Energy’s plant in Edwardsport, Ind., that is expected to be the world’s largest IGCC facility when it reaches commercial operation in 2012.
There are nearly 70 GE-licensed gasification facilities operating around the world today and approximately 40 of these plants use commercial technology to separate carbon.