Dubai intends to move forward with two separate projects to use coal to generate electricity, the head of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) said this week. The first, a conventional coal-fired power station, will be open to bidding by private companies in April, while a study of a second proposal to build a power plant burning hydrogen derived from coal should be ready next month, said Saeed al Tayer, the DEWA chief executive.
DEWA's decision to turn to coal, which is environmentally problematic and must be sourced from outside the Gulf region, underscores the emirate's determination to diversify its energy sources away from scarce gas and expensive diesel and fuel oil, experts said. The coal plant has been under study by Lahmeyer, a German engineering firm, and a tender on the project "will be open in April 2009", Mr Tayer said.
The hydrogen power plant was first announced early last year. It will burn hydrogen derived from coal in a standard gas turbine, Mr Tayer said. "That's a big project, that's liquefied coal. From the liquefied coal, it can be converted into hydrogen and CO2," he said. DEWA has previously said the carbon dioxide would be buried underground, making the plant a nearly zero-emissions facility. The plant will produce 2000 megawatts of power, the utility has said.