General Electric (GE) today announced a partnership with Schlumberger to develop and implement “cleaner coal” technology.
The move, labelled “a first-of-its-kind alliance” by Ricardo Cordoba, president of GE Energy Western Europe and North Africa, sees two of the biggest global power and fuel technology corporations joined together to utilise GE’s integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) systems with Schlumberger’s celebrated carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Cordoba said: “Under this new arrangement, our two companies will align the technical needs of capture and storage for high operability and work in concert to offer customers a cost effective solution that will provide a complete answer for IGCC with CCS that can be readily implemented under the proper regulatory framework.”
The alliance plans to offer clients plants which operate both systems or ICGG plants with retrofit capabilities for CCS, which will be upgraded when new policy and legislations are introduced in the field.
The announcement is likely to cause some controversy among eco-campaigners as they feel resources should be allocated to developing environmentally friendly power such as solar and wind energy. The topic has been a leading point for debate in certain areas of the US during the presidential nomination campaign this year, with “Barack Obama believes in clean Kentucky coal” the message on one recent campaign flier.
But Brent Blackwelder, president of the environmental group Friends of the Earth, countered: “There is no such animal as clean coal. We shouldn’t be placing our bets on coal to bail us out. We need to be looking at getting rid of coal plants.”
GE Energy has plants worldwide and in 2007 recorded revenue of $22 billion. In the UK it employs 1,500 staff. Schlumberger is touted as the world’s leading supplier of oilfield technology with $23.28 billion revenue last year. Its Carbon Services department is committed to viable storage solutions for CO2.