• Microsoft to join power companies to build BECCS plant

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

In a partnership that would have been met with surprise some years ago, Schlumberger New Energy, Chevron Corporation, Microsoft and Clean Energy Systems are to work together to develop a bioenergy with carbon capture and storage project in Mendota, California. Agricultural waste biomass, such as almond trees, will be converted to a syngas that undergoes combustion, then a carbon capture process will extract a carbon dioxide stream that is stored in nearby geological formations.

The project is targeting an ambitious and impressive 99% carbon capture. When completed, the BECCS plant will capture 272 kilotonnes of CO2 per year, which would be something like 2.4% of Microsoft’s total annual emissions of the gas in 2020, and thus a significant step in its strategy of taking its corporate carbon footprint to negative by 2030. Engineering and design work is to begin imminently, with a final investment decision to be taken next year, according to Chevron. Clean Energy Systems brings CCS know-how to the project, while a Microsoft representative said that the company sees a “tremendous opportunity to use cloud technologies in the energy sector to help accelerate the industry’s digital transformation”.