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Hydrogen Energy California (HECA)

Brief description:


Main developer: SCS Energy

Country: USA

Project type: Capture Storage

Scale: Large

Status: Feed study

Capital cost: $2.3 billion

Year of operation 2016
Industry: Coal Power Plant

MW capacity: 390

Capture method: Pre-combustion

New or retrofit: New
Transport of CO2 by: Pipeline

Storage site:

Elk Hills Oilfield

Type of storage: EOR

Volume: 2 000 000 tonnes/CO2


HECA plant

SCS Energy is progressing with plans to build and demonstrate a new 300MW hydrogen-powered electricity plant at Bakersfield, California. The plant will capture and store an estimated 2.3 million tonnes per annum of CO to be transported by pipeline for use in enhanced oil recovery projects at nearby oilfields, such as Occidental's Elk Hills oilfield. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was awarded the FEED contract in May 2012, considered a significant milestone for the project. Full-scale operations are planned for December 2017.

The project was reconfigured as a poly-generation plant in 2011 after the company took the project over from Rio Tinto and BP. It will produce both electricity and fertiliser.

The venture was awarded $408 million in July 2009 by the US Department of Energy (DoE). The integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant will be fed by hydrogen derived from petroleum coke and coal. The project is part of the Clean Coal Power Initiative between the federal government and private industry to invest in low-emission coal technology.  It is expected to cost around $2.3 billion, with the state contributing about 11% of total costs.

HECA replaces BP and Edison Mission Group’s Carson Hydrogen Power project, which would have seen a 500MW power plant built at BP's Carson Refinery near Los Angeles. The venture had also planned to use hydrogen derived from petroleum coke, and was considering Occidental’s mature Californian oilfields for CO2 storage.


As of winter 2012, adjusted project designs were progressing through the regulatory approval process, and California Energy Commission had begun its environmental review. A draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected in March 2013. Public and stakeholder consultation is also under way. The project is working towards final project approval.

The FEED contract, awarded in May 2012, is due to be completed by March 2013. SCS Energy is expected to finalise the EPC contract in mid-2013 and plans to complete the project by the end of 2017.

The original timetable had been:

completion of CEC permitting process mid 2011
start of construction 2012
completion of construction 2015
commissioning and initial startup throughout 2015
full-scale operation of the project 2017


Other sources and press releases:

HECA advances coal gasification project, December 2012

Project newsletter, autumn 2012

DoE PR on public meeting notice, 9 July 2012

MHI awarded FEED contract, 31 May 2012

SCS Energy files certification application, May 2012

SCS Energy takeover press release, May 2011

DOE Sign cooperative agreement for new hydrogen power plant (November 2009)
California Energy Commission begins Hydrogen Power plant review (August 2009) 
DOE award of $308 Million: Hydrogen Energy News Release (July 2009) 
Hydrogen Energy Website
Hydrogen Energy News
Mining news release about HECA project (July 2008) 
HECA fact sheet [PDF]

Contact info

Main developer: SCS Energy

Companies involved