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Schlumberger New Energy, Chevron, and Microsoft join forces on Carbon Negative Bioenergy
IT & Communication | 05 March 2021

In an announcement today, Schlumberger New Energy, Chevron Corporation, Microsoft, and Clean Energy Systems declared plans to develop a ground-breaking bioenergy with a carbon capture and sequestration (BECCS) project that will be designed to produce carbon negative power in Mendota, California.

The BECCS plant will be converting agricultural waste biomass, for example, almond trees, into a renewable synthesis gas that will be blended in with oxygen in a combustor to produce electricity. Over 99% of the carbon from the BECCS process is expected to be captured for permanent storage by infusing carbon dioxide (CO2) underground into nearby deep geologic formations.

By utilizing biomass fuel that consumes CO2 over its lifetime to deliver force and produce power and then safely and permanently storing the produced CO2, the process is designed to bring about carbon emissions, effectively eliminating greenhouse gas from the environment. The plant, when completed, is expected to eliminate around 300,000 tons of CO2 every year, which is comparable to the emissions from electricity utilization of more than 65,000 U.S. homes.

Ashok Belani, Schlumberger New Energy executive vice president said that they are eager to welcome Chevron and Microsoft on this exciting opportunity, ”as it further demonstrates how we play an enabling role to deploy carbon capture and sequestration solutions at scale”. He further added, “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.”

"There's tremendous opportunity to use cloud technologies in the energy sector to help accelerate the industry's digital transformation," said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president at Cloud + AI, Microsoft. "Innovation at this scale is accelerated by our strong relationship, as we work together to help provide a sustainable and clean environment for local communities," he added.

Keith Pronske, Clean Energy Systems president and CEO said that they were 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.”

“Chevron is helping to advance a lower-carbon future,” said Bruce Niemeyer, Chevron's vice president of strategy and sustainability. “We look forward to leveraging our experience working in California, building projects which can be repeated, and operating large-scale carbon capture and storage operations. The project is aligned with our focus on investments in low-carbon technology to enable commercial solutions.”

The completed facility will help in improving air quality in the Central Valley by utilizing roughly 200,000 tons of agricultural waste yearly, in accordance with the recent California Air Resources Control Board plan to begin eliminating practically all agricultural burning in the Valley by 2025. The bioenergy technology is designed to work without routine emissions of nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and particulates from combustion produced by conventional biomass plants.

The project is expected to create up to 300 construction occupations and around 30 lasting positions once the facility is operating. The organizations involved expecting to begin front-end engineering and design immediately, prompting a final investment decision in 2022, and will then assess other opportunities to scale this carbon capture and sequestration solution.

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