BP, Rio Tinto launch Hydrogen Energy

Hydrogen Energy, a venture of BP and Rio Tinto, is being formed to develop global energy projects using fossil fuels and carbon capture and storage technology to generate electricity with low carbon emissions, BP said May 17.

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, May 21 -- Hydrogen Energy, a 50-50 joint venture of BP PLC and Rio Tinto Group, is being formed to develop projects using fossil fuels and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to generate electricity with low carbon emissions, BP said May 17.

The joint venture's first projects would be power and sequestration projects that BP already has proposed.

Finalization of Hydrogen Energy remains subject to approval from regulators. Then, mining company Rio Tinto plans to pay BP $32 million for Rio Tinto's stake in Hydrogen Energy.

Rio Tinto has expertise in coal while BP has experience in chemical processing, low-carbon generation, and CCS. Initially, Hydrogen Energy will focus on power plants.

Coal, petroleum coke, and natural gas will be used to create hydrogen and carbon dioxide. CO2 will be permanently injected into the ground while hydrogen will be used to generate electricity.

Proposed projects
Hydrogen Energy will absorb two decarbonization project proposals that BP has proposed in Scotland and California. In Peterhead, Scotland, BP is studying the details for a 475-Mw plant that would separate hydrogen in gas and use the hydrogen for power.

Meanwhile, 1.8 million tonnes/year of CO2 would be transported to the North Sea and injected into Miller oil field. Pending UK government authorization and financing, the plant is expected to become operational in 2011.

In Carson, Calif., BP has proposed a 500-Mw hydrogen power plant that would separate hydrogen from coke and inject 4 million tonnes/year of CO2 for underground storage. Subject to engineering studies and appropriate government polices, operations are expected in 2012.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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