The project, which will emit far less greenhouse gases than conventional power plants, announced in January 2008 by Masdar and BP as a joint venture has seen rapid progress since then, as it has completed many milestones that include realignment of schedule with pipeline and CO2 trials, appointment of financial advisors, allotment of land, and completion of front end engineering and design or FEED study.
The project will be constructed about 250 kilometres West of Abu Dhabi on the coast near the Jebel Dhanna, next to Shuweihat 1 electric power project.
The Hydrogen Power project is a joint venture between the UAE’s renewable energy initiative Masdar, BP and Rio Tinto. It could be the world’s first large-scale CCS project, in a race with a clutch of projects around the world.
The plant would split natural gas into hydrogen and the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). The hydrogen would fire a 500 megawatt power plant, while the CO2 would be injected into oilfields. The plant itself would consume around 100 MW, leaving 400MW to be sold into the UAE’s power grid.
The injection of the gas under an oilfield would at the same time store the greenhouse gas and help boost oil output by maintaining underground pressure.
Meanwhile according to Reuters preliminary engineering and design was completed by Foster Wheeler last year, David Binnie, general manager of Hydrogen Power.
Hydrogen Power expected to tender engineering and construction contracts and look for finance this year, Binnie said. The project could be the first of its type — separating carbon dioxide before combustion, producing power with low carbon emissions, and capturing carbon, Binnie said.
Some 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 would be captured per year. Natural gas for the project would be supplied by state firm Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. The power generated would be sold to the state-run Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, he said.
The financing for the project would be a combination of debt and equity.
“We are looking at commercial bank financing for the debt portion,” he said without elaborating.
The project would also have a small-scale desalination plant for the firm’s own use, he said.
Abu Dhabi’s Masdar owns 60 per cent of the Hydrogen Power project, while Rio Tinto and BP each hold 20 per cent. The plant would be located in Shuweihat on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE.
Abu Dhabi is the world’s third-largest oil exporter. Masdar is an Abu Dhabi government-funded initiative that aims to prepare the UAE for a future beyond oil.
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