Abu Dhabi's hydrogen-CCS plant delayed

Feb 25, 2009 01:00 AM

The first phase of a unique $ 2 bn hydrogen power and carbon capture project in the Middle East has been postponed by at least a year as the various backers of the project attempt to resolve undisclosed technical issues.
The project, named Hydrogen Power Abu Dhabi, is a joint venture between the Abu Dhabi government's Masdar clean tech fund and engineering firm Hydrogen Energy, which is in turn is a partnership between BP and Rio Tinto.

Masdar unveiled the project in January last year, as the centre piece of Abu Dhabi's first World Future Energy Summit. It represents the first such facility of its type anywhere in the world and will combine the production of hydrogen power with carbon capture and storage technologies.
The 420 MW plant will work by converting natural gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The hydrogen will then be burnt, producing enough electricity to provide more than 5 % of Abu Dhabi's power, while the carbon dioxide will be pumped into depleted oil fields in the regionto "push out" more oil, in a process known as enhanced oil recovery.

A spokesman for BP said that despite the set back all partners were still fully committed to the project, adding that a final decision on go-ahead will be made next year.
"They're on schedule with the front end design which is due to finish in May, but they are now talking about mid 2010 for the final decision to get things underway," he said. Originally this decision was expected in early 2009, allowing the plant to come into commercial operation in 2012.

Sultan al Jaber, the chief executive of Masdar, told that the plant was now unlikely to be operational before 2014, with the contracts for development most likely being awarded in the third quarter of next year.
"We hope the project will be fully developed by the third quarter of 2014," he said. The facility is expected to create 1000 jobs during construction, with up to 100 permanent jobs when the plant is operational.

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