The Department of Energy July 1 selected a proposed California clean coal project for $308 million in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The money goes to Hydrogen Energy International--a joint venture of BP Alternative Energy and Rio Tinto--for the project planned near Bakersfield. Energy Secretary Steven Chu called the award “a major step forward in the fight to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-based power plants.” California Recovery Task Force director Cynthia Bryant called it “fantastic.” The facility--known as the Hydrogen Energy California Project--is to employ integrated gasification combined cycle power plant technology to turn blends of coal and petroleum coke combined with non-potable water into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is to be separated, piped to nearby oil fields, and injected into the ground to help pressurize wells and enhance petroleum production. The hydrogen is to fuel a 250 MW power plant.