Chevron, Schlumberger, Microsoft and CES to set up Bioenergy-Plus-CCS Plant in California

The plant will process agricultural waste to produce electricity from biomass energy and inject emissions into geologic formations underground

Chevron, Schlumberger, Microsoft and Clean Energy Systems have announced an ambitious plan to set up a plant to produce bioenergy augmented by a sophisticated carbon capture system, thereby producing carbon negative power. The plant will process agricultural waste (for example, almond trees) to produce a renewable synthetic gas. This gas will be combined with oxygen in a combustion cell to generate electricity. As carbon emissions are expelled, they will be captured for permanent storage into nearby geological formations located deep under the ground.

A view of Mendota, California where the BECCS plant will be constructed, Credit: Schlumberger New Energy website

The entire process will not only reuse biomass fuel that has absorbed carbon emissions during its lifetime but also remove almost 99% carbon emissions generated from the atmosphere. When the plant is ready for operations, it will remove around 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Once complete, the plant will absorb almost 200,000 tonnes of this waste every year, thereby enabling California Air Resources Control Board to achieve its target of ending agricultural burning by 2025. The construction of the plant will create around 300 jobs and once operational, will require 30 permanent staff for running and maintenance. The companies are about to embark on preliminary engineering and design work and will take a final call on investment next year.

Bruce Niemeyer, Chevron VP of Strategy and Sustainability, said: “Chevron is helping to advance a lower-carbon future. The project is aligned with our focus on investments in low-carbon technology to enable commercial solutions.”

Ashok Belani, Schlumberger VP, said: “We are diversifying our portfolio of projects with partnerships in selected markets and geographies where existing policies and regulations can make projects attractive today. This unique BECCS project in California is a game-changing example of this.”

Scott Guthrie, Microsoft VP of Cloud + AI, said: “There’s tremendous opportunity to use cloud technologies in the energy sector to help accelerate the industry’s digital transformation.”

Keith Pronske, Clean Energy Systems CEO, said: “We’re pleased to have strong partners join our efforts to address the challenges of climate change, improve air quality in the Central Valley and make a vital contribution to the local economy by restarting an idled biomass plant.”