SCS revamps some aspects of California coal plant project

The owner of the Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) project in Kern County announced May 3 that it has filed an amended application for certification of the plant with the California Energy Commission , underscoring its commitment to building the 300-MW power plant.

The HECA project, which would use mostly coal as a feedstock, is co-funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) under its Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI-Round 3). SCS Energy California LLC, which took over the project last year from prior owners, said this project will create thousands of construction and permanent jobs, is a major step to promote clean energy and will advance California’s long term climate strategy.

The filing resumes a comprehensive review process which, upon approval, would grant permission for construction and operation of one of the world’s first hydrogen powered plants with carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), the company said.

HECA is an integrated gasification combined cycle project that will manufacture hydrogen to be used to generate nearly 300 MW of low-carbon electricity and to produce low-carbon nitrogen based products, such as fertilizers. The products and power produced by the project have a lower carbon footprint than similar products produced from the combustion of fossil fuels, including natural gas. This low-carbon footprint is accomplished by capturing more than 90% of the CO2, which will be transported for use in enhanced oil recovery in the adjacent Elk Hills Oil Field owned and operated by Occidental of Elk Hills Inc.

“The HECA project underscores the significance of CCUS – the creative combination of business drivers and environmental responsibility,” said Chuck McConnell, DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy. “It demonstrates how carbon capture technology will help us fully develop and use our vast domestic energy resources in a sustainable way. And by utilizing the captured CO2 for enhanced oil recovery, the project provides significant economic and job creation benefits.”

Since acquiring the project, SCS has modified the former HECA design to improve its economic viability and better serve market needs, while continuing to adhere to the strictest environmental standards. In addition, HECA has selected Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ oxygen-blown dry feed gasification technology as a key component of the project. The project will gasify a blend of coal and petroleum coke to produce hydrogen-rich gas. Because the project has new and improved features from the original HECA design, the project team developed and submitted an amended permit application for regulatory review.

SCS is a private power plant development company headquartered in Concord, Mass.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.