Saturday, March 05, 2005

16,000MW Wind/Hydrogen Project Contemplated

Argentine energy company Capex aims to start pre-feasibility studies in two months on a US$19bn project to generate 16,000MW of wind power to produce 13.3 million cubic meters a year of hydrogen, company development and new business director Jorge Llera told BNamericas. Hydrogen is a clean burning fuel that could be mixed with natural gas for power generation, used in domestic appliances and also as a vehicular fuel. With a number of large cities in the Southern Cone with air pollution issues, Capex sees the possibility of a regional market for the fuel, Llera said. Project location depends on further studies, but the area under consideration is around Pico Truncado in the northeast of Santa Cruz province, where wind speeds are some eight meters a second with a capacity factor of 45%. The US$19bn figure covers the wind turbines, hydrogen production infrastructure and delivery to port. Investment on such a scale is beyond the reach of Capex alone, and so it would associate with other companies already involved in hydrogen technology, such as automobile manufacturers, should the project proceed to further studies, Llera said. The project has the potential to generate some 40 million tonnes of carbon credits a year, he added. Capex produces oil and gas, and generates gas-fired electric power at the wellhead at Agua del Cajón in Neuquén province. It is 60% owned by Capsa, the local unit of Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell.