BP And Edison Plan $1 Billion 500MW Hydrogen Power Plant

Energy giants BP and Edison are considering investing $1 billion for a new use of hydrogen – generating electricity on a large scale. Instead of this large scale plant using coal, natural gas or nuclear, it will use hydrogen. The plant would be in Carson, California, near BP’s current oil-refining operations that heavily use hydrogen to produce cleaner, high-octane gasoline. BP America Inc. and Edison Mission Group, an unregulated subsidiary of Edison International, said Feb. 10 that they plan to develop a $1 billion, 500-MW hydrogen-fueled power plant near Los Angeles that will generate power with minimal carbon dioxide emissions. This would increase use of hydrogen in California by 2 million metric tons per year.

The project would also hinge, in part, on using financial incentives included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 for advanced gasification power technology. Petroleum coke produced at California refineries would first be converted to hydrogen and CO2 gases, and around 90% of the CO2 would be captured and separated.

The hydrogen gas stream would be used to fuel a gas turbine to generate electricity. The captured CO2 would be transported by pipeline to an oilfield and injected into reservoir rock formations thousands of feet underground, both stimulating additional oil production and permanently trapping the CO2.

BP announced a similar project in Scotland in June 2005 and shortly afterward Edison Mission contacted BP about teaming up for such a project in the United States.

Refineries in the South Bay and Harbor Area create about 17,000 tons of petroleum coke a day during the production of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, officials said. BP Carson, which makes the Arco brand, alone, creates about 4,000 tons a day. The coke is not thrown away. It is often shipped to Asia, where it is simply burned as a fuel.

The BP-Edison project would consume about 5,000 tons per day, according to Ted Craver, CEO of the Edison Mission Group, the Edison subsidiary which will work on the project.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger chatted with BP and Edison executives as he briefly strolled through the Watson site, where the light-green units burn a mixture of 70 percent natural gas and 30 percent refining gases to produce electricity for the refinery and for Edison to distribute to the state’s power grid.

Construction could begin as soon as 2008 and could be completed by 2011, when it will provide about 150 permanent jobs. Edison executive Craver said there is a similar plant in Scotland, but nothing else like it in the U.S. For more details:


John Addison is the author of the book Revenue Rocket (Executive Summary at http://www.optimarkworks.com/) and the upcoming book Cleantech Marketing. Since 2002, John has been a Board member of the California Hydrogen Business Council (www.californiahydrogen.org). John Addison is president of OPTIMARK Inc. a firm that helps with marketing strategy and partner development. He is a popular speaker in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

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