Rio’s decision to up the spend in the Hydrogen Energy California project in Kern County follows its sale of a 50% interest in Hydrogen Energy International to oil major BP, with this joint venture working on a hydrogen energy project in Abu Dhabi.
Rio did not reveal the sums involved but praised the Abu Dhabi project.
“The Abu Dhabi project is a ground-breaking and important project based on gas feedstock, but Rio Tinto prefers to focus on projects with solid fuel feedstocks, which are better aligned with our other businesses,” Rio technology and innovation group executive Preston Chiaro said.
Rio will still be working with BP to develop hydrogen power within the HEC project.
“We look forward to continuing to work with our partner BP, the US Department of Energy and other key stakeholders to deliver the California project, which we regard as a critical project in the development of CCS technology,” Chiaro said.
The Californian project aims to power more than 150,000 homes in the Kern County area with a 90% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Hydrogen will be used to fuel power-generating turbines instead of natural gas, with waste CO2 to be stored deep underground.