The five-month-long study will assess the economics of flexible power generation systems which involve the production of hydrogen from coal, biomass or natural gas, the intermediate storage of hydrogen (for example in underground salt caverns) and the production of power in flexible turbines. Foster Wheeler will execute the study in collaboration with the British Geological Survey.
The value of Foster Wheeler’s contract was not disclosed and will be included in the company’s first-quarter 2013 bookings.
The study, commissioned and funded by the ETI, will look to map suitable hydrogen storage salt cavern sites in and around the UK. The sites, which tend to be located inland or up to 25 miles off the UK coastline, need to be of sufficient size, depth, location and quality to be considered for hydrogen storage.
According to ETI, flexible power generation systems, such as those to be studied, could provide a valuable contribution to the future energy mix in the UK, filling the gap between base-load nuclear power plants and renewable power generation. Such systems would also capture and store carbon dioxide which would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.
This study is part of the ETI’s Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) Program and is intended to help the ETI develop a better understanding of the requirements for such energy systems and a more realistic and robust dataset of costs and efficiencies.
Andrew Green, ETI CCS Program Manager, said, “ETI modelling shows that flexible power generation systems comprising hydrogen generation with CCS, intermediate hydrogen storage (particularly using salt caverns) and flexible turbines are potentially attractive components in any future UK energy system. This project is a first step in a long journey, which could ultimately see such systems as a key part of a future low carbon, flexible and affordable energy system. If successful, the benefits could potentially be huge.”
Umberto della Sala, President and Chief Operating Officer, Foster Wheeler AG, said, “Foster Wheeler has been working with ETI for four years and this latest award confirms ETI’s confidence in our technical expertise in the field of carbon capture and storage, and our ability to deliver high-quality studies. We are delighted to be contributing to the development of a low-carbon energy future in the UK.”