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Hydrogen Energy California Project (HECA) Fact Sheet: Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Project

Company/Alliance: SCS Energy

Location: Elk Hills (west of Bakersfield), Kern County, California, USA

Feedstock: Petcoke to Hydrogen (flexible fuel)

Size: 400 MW (2.6 Mt of CO2 captured annually)

Capture Technology: Rectisol® AGR System. Pre-combustion IGCC (for petroleum coke) 90% CO2 capture in steady state operation trials

CO2 Fate: 6.40 Km pipeline to Onshore EOR in Occidental's Elk Hills oil field

Timing: Cancelled

Original timing: Construction (2015) Operational 2020


Total project cost: $4.028 billion. DOE CCPI-3 share $408 million (10%). $437 of 48a Tax Credits.

In January 2013, U.S. $104 million was allocated to the HECA Project under Phase III of the U.S. investment tax credits program to support advanced coal projects with CCS.

Due to the expiration of unused funds provided under the Recovery Act in September 2015, the total DOE funding for the project was reduced by approximately $122 million to $286 million.


The current status of the HECA Project: HECA withdrew the project’s application for certification (AFC) from the California Energy Commission (CEC) on March 3, 2016. This is the latest news after multiple delays associated with the finalization of the CO2 off-take agreement and other issues. While the company hopes to resurrect HECA, it remains unclear when that might happen.

December 2015, HECA proposed buying its own CO2 and burying it directly into the rocks below its site. If this were to go ahead it would eliminate the need for am "off-take" agreement which is one of the main reasons for the project delay. Occidental Petroleum had previously agreed to buy the CO2.

July 2015. The California Energy Commission (CEC) agreed with company officials to suspend work on the six-year proposal to buy time to find a purchaser for the CO2.

September 2014. Contracts to sell the CO2 to Oxy for CO2-EOR in the Elk Hills have still not been finalized. The project looks like it could be cancelled if it is not finalized by spring 2015 when it goes before the California Commission for the final vote.

May 2012 HECA filed with the California Energy Commission an amended application for certification of the plant, underscoring its commitment to building the 300-megawatt power plant.

Air Permits: HECA has received a final determination of Compliance from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution control district for its required air permit. HECA is continuing to work through federal air quality permit fillings with the EPA (May 2011).

Extensive outreach is being undertaken in the surrounding areas. When completed this project will produce enough energy for 150,000 homes in Southern California. The HECA project is located close to Occidental's Elk Hills oil fields but other oil fields also exist nearby which can provide sequestration potential.

In addition to capturing 90% of the CO2 for EOR, HECA will have an integrated manufacturing complex which is capable of producing up to 1MT/yr of nitrogen-based fertilizers.

SCS Energy acquired the HECA power project from its original developers BP and Rio Tinto in May 2011. SCS modified the original hydrogen plant to a polygeneration plant that incorporated the manufacturing of urea. The CO2 capture was also increased from 2.3 Mt/yr to 3 Mt/yr.

When SCS Energy took over the HECA project, BP and Rio Tinto had both invested $55 million to lay the groundwork for HECA's feasibility. DOE has invested $54 million in the project under a financial assistance agreement with HECA. HECA can access the remaining $354 million in financial assistance under HECA's Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI-3) award which is a US $308 million awarded from the DOE in July 2009. The California State Public Utilities Commission also awarded $30 million in February 2009; $17 million of which had been received as of June 2010.

Project Link: Hydrogen Energy California project (HECA) project website

Other Sources and Press Releases:

DOE's HECA website

SCS Energy website

HECA Down But Not Out, Developer Says (March 2016)
HECA Proposes Burying Carbon Dioxide Below Its Own Site (December 2015)
DOE suspends stimulus funding for Calif. carbon-capture project
(July 2015)
California Suspends Syngas Carbon Capture Project For Six Months (July 2015)
Carbon Capture and Sequestration: Research, Development, and Demonstration at the U.S. Department of Energy (June 2013)
HECA newsletter Summer 2012 [PDF]
Announcing Project Labor Agreement for HECA Project (May 2012)
Hydrogen Energy California Project Moves Forward (May 2012)
SCS Energy Closes deal to acquire HECA project in Kern County (September 2011)
SCS Energy agrees to take over HECA (May 2011)