BP chooses BASF’s OASE® technology for its blue hydrogen project in Teesside

BP, a leading global energy company, has announced that it will use BASF’s OASE® technology to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from its blue hydrogen production facility in Teesside, UK. The project, known as H2Teesside, aims to produce 1 gigawatt (GW) of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030, enough to heat about 1.5 million homes or power a city the size of Leeds.

What is blue hydrogen and why is it important?

Hydrogen is a versatile and clean energy carrier that can be used for various applications, such as power generation, transportation, industry, and heating. However, most of the hydrogen produced today is derived from natural gas or coal, which emits CO2 and contributes to climate change. To reduce the carbon footprint of hydrogen, different technologies have been developed to capture and store or utilize the CO2 that is generated during the production process. These technologies are often categorized by colors, such as blue, green, or grey, depending on the source of the hydrogen and the fate of the CO2.

Blue hydrogen is a common term for decarbonized hydrogen, which is hydrogen that is manufactured by natural gas reforming coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS) or utilization (CCU). The main processes used for this are steam methane reforming (SMR), autothermal reforming (ATR), or gas partial oxidation (GPO). By capturing and storing or utilizing the CO2 that is generated as a by-product, the carbon intensity of hydrogen produced in these ways can be mitigated substantially. For example, the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process (SBHP), which integrates GPO and CCU, can capture up to 99% of the CO2.

Blue hydrogen is considered a low-carbon and cost-effective option to produce hydrogen at scale and support the energy transition. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), blue hydrogen could account for 17% of global hydrogen production by 2050, while green hydrogen, which is produced by water electrolysis using renewable power, could account for 19%. However, green hydrogen is currently more expensive and less available than blue hydrogen, and may not achieve cost parity until about 2045. Therefore, blue hydrogen can play a bridging role in the near term to accelerate the deployment and adoption of hydrogen as a clean energy vector.

How does BASF’s OASE® technology work and what are its benefits?

BASF’s OASE® technology is a portfolio of gas treating solutions that can remove various acid gases, such as CO2, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), or carbonyl sulfide (COS), from natural gas, synthesis gas, biogas, or flue gas. The technology uses an amine-based solvent that selectively absorbs the acid gases from the gas stream and releases them in a regeneration step. The technology can be customized and optimized for different applications and operating conditions, such as pressure, temperature, gas composition, and CO2 purity.

BASF’s OASE® technology has several advantages for blue hydrogen applications, such as:

  • High CO2 capture efficiency: The technology can achieve up to 99% CO2 capture rate, depending on the solvent type and process configuration, resulting in a low-carbon hydrogen product.
  • High CO2 purity: The technology can produce a CO2 stream with a purity of more than 99.9%, which is suitable for CCS or CCU purposes, such as enhanced oil recovery (EOR), urea production, or methanol synthesis.
  • Low energy consumption: The technology can reduce the energy consumption for CO2 capture and regeneration by up to 30% compared to conventional solvents, such as monoethanolamine (MEA), due to its lower heat of absorption and higher CO2 loading capacity.
  • Low solvent degradation: The technology can minimize the solvent degradation and corrosion caused by oxygen, COS, or other contaminants in the gas stream, due to its high stability and resistance.
  • Low emissions: The technology can reduce the emissions of CO2, amine, and other pollutants from the capture plant, due to its low volatility and high selectivity.

BASF’s OASE® technology has been proven and demonstrated in more than 500 reference plants worldwide, including several blue hydrogen projects, such as:

  • The Shell Quest project in Alberta, Canada, which captures 1.2 million tonnes per year of CO2 from an SMR plant and stores it underground.
  • The Air Products and Chemicals project in Edmonton, Canada, which will capture 1.3 million tonnes per year of CO2 from a GPO plant and use it for EOR.
  • The Air Products and Chemicals project in Louisiana, USA, which will capture 4 million tonnes per year of CO2 from a GPO plant and use it for EOR.

What are the details and impacts of BP’s H2Teesside project?

BP’s H2Teesside project is a flagship initiative to produce blue hydrogen at scale and support the UK’s net-zero ambition. The project will use natural gas as the feedstock and BASF’s OASE® technology as the carbon capture solution. The project will have an initial capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) by 2027, which will be expanded to 1 GW by 2030. The project will produce about 1 billion cubic meters of low-carbon hydrogen per year, which is equivalent to 20% of the UK’s hydrogen target by 2030.

The project will have multiple benefits for the environment, the economy, and the society, such as:

  • Reducing CO2 emissions: The project will capture and store or utilize up to 2 million tonnes per year of CO2, which is equivalent to the emissions of 1 million cars. The project will also displace the use of fossil fuels in various sectors, such as power, industry, and transport, and reduce their emissions accordingly.
  • Creating jobs and growth: The project will create up to 2,000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase and up to 1,000 jobs during the operation phase. The project will also stimulate the local supply chain and infrastructure development, such as the Teesside Net Zero Cluster, the Northern Endurance Partnership, and the East Coast Cluster.
  • Enhancing energy security and diversity: The project will increase the domestic production and consumption of hydrogen, which is a clean and flexible energy carrier that can complement renewable power and support the grid stability. The project will also diversify the energy mix and reduce the dependence on imported fuels.

BP’s H2Teesside project is a milestone for the blue hydrogen industry and a catalyst for the energy transition. The project will showcase the feasibility and scalability of blue hydrogen and its role in decarbonizing the hard-to-abate sectors. The project will also demonstrate the collaboration and innovation of the key stakeholders, such as BP, BASF, the UK government, and the local community.

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