The Project

Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) is a clean and reliable alternative energy solution that will provide significant economic and environmental benefits to Kern County and the State of California, while advancing California’s long term climate strategy.

As one of the first projects of its kind, HECA will bring together safe and commercially proven technologies into a single, multi-purpose operation that will generate a stable and predictable new source of clean, low-carbon electricity using hydrogen; minimize greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere; capture, store and utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) for enhanced oil recovery; and produce a much needed local source of low-carbon fertilizer.

The fertilizer, valued at more than $1 billion a year, will stimulate California’s overall economy and reduce dependency on foreign imports. The CO2, which will be captured and permanently stored safely underground in a nearby oil field, will enable enhanced oil recovery that will increase domestic oil production by 5 million barrels per year.

Because of its importance to the U.S. as an alternative energy project of the future, HECA is co-funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, and administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory. The project is supported in part by a $408 million grant that was competitively awarded to HECA in recognition of its importance in addressing the issue of climate change while providing many local and regional benefits.

The project will create thousands of high quality construction jobs in Kern County, supply much needed energy, mitigate climate change, enhance U.S. energy security, boost domestic oil production and generate new tax revenues. HECA’s operation will specifically create $52 million in annual labor income and $239 million in total economic impact to Kern County.

When completed, the 300 megawatt (MW) Hydrogen Energy California project (HECA) will produce low-carbon electricity to meet California’s increasing energy demand while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. HECA will produce lower air emissions than any conventional plant of its size, including natural gas. In fact, the project will capture more than 3 million annual tons of greenhouse gases that would have otherwise been emitted into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to eliminating 650,000 cars from the road each year.

In addition to its many other environmental benefits, HECA’s unique process will also preserve California’s valuable fresh water resources by using brackish, non-potable water and eliminating waste water discharge.

Petroleum coke is currently shipped from California refineries to other nations where it is typically burned, releasing CO2 emissions directly into the atmosphere. Instead of burning fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases into the air, HECA will turn coal and petroleum coke into clean hydrogen energy while permanently capturing the CO2 before it is emitted into the atmosphere. Once the hydrogen is created, it is used for two purposes: as clean fuel to generate nearly 300MW of clean electricity; and to produce about 1 million tons of locally manufactured, low-carbon fertilizer each year. Meanwhile, the CO2 will be condensed and transported via secure pipeline to nearby Elk Hills Oil Field and stored underground, which will enable the production of 5 million additional barrels of domestic oil per year in a process known as enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

Hydrogen Energy California is owned by SCS Energy, one of the nation’s leading independent developers of clean power. The project has the support of the U.S. Department of Energy as a safe and cost effective way to produce clean energy.