Rio makes hydrogen energy investment

Rio Tinto has switched its carbon capture and storage investments towards coal.

Rio Tinto will be making a major investment in the Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) project, a proposed new hydrogen-powered electricity facility that will capture and store most of its carbon related emissions to produce clean electricity.

While they did not disclose the actual sum, Rio said the outlay will represent majority of its investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

The HECA project investment is part of Rio’s larger Hydrogen Energy joint venture with BP to store emissions from coal and petcoke, an oil-based, solid fuel.

“We look forward to continuing to work with our partner BP, the US Department of Energy and other key stakeholders to deliver the California project, which we regard as a critical project in the development of CCS technology,” Rio group executive Technology and Innovation Preston Chiaro said.

The investment is a move by Rio away from CCS investments in natural gas as a feedstock towards coal and petcoke which will see it dump its 50% interest in Hydrogen Energy International Ltd (HEIL), which owns an interest in the Hydrogen Power Abu Dhabi (HPAD) project.

“Rio Tinto is committed to the development of CCS and the need for action on climate change,” Chiaro said.

“It supports a strong binding international agreement on climate change that will address both the environmental challenge, as well as provide greater certainty for investment decisions.”

According to reports, the HECA project is expected to cost at least $US2 billion, with Rio and BP would creating enough power for over 150,000 homes, while producing the emissions of 90% less carbon dioxide.

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