NET Power demo plant takes key step toward emissions-free gas generation
- NET Power says it has achieved first fire at its gas-fired demonstration plant in La Porte, Texas — an important milestone in its development of the facility, which is designed to generate energy with almost no emissions.
- The 50 MW thermal (25 MWe) plant, a collaboration among Exelon Generation, McDermott and 8 Rivers Capital, is the first industrial-scale supercritical carbon dioxide-based power plant and CO₂ cycle test facility.
- As the electric industry's focus has shifted toward cleaner and lower-emission generation, both the natural gas and coal sectors have considered carbon capture as a way for the fuels to remain viable resources. Earlier this year, lawmakers extended the 45Q tax credit for CO2 storage as part of the budget signed by President Donald Trump.
"First fire is a critical milestone for the demonstration plant, as it validates the fundamental operability and technical foundation" of the facility, NET Power said in a statement.
The company is looking to deploy several of its new plants as early as 2021 in the form of 300 MWe commercial facilities, though the first fire milestone still leaves much work to be done. Nevertheless, officials believe they have developed a way to virtually eliminate CO2 emissions from gas-fired generation without excessive costs, which have so-far hamstrung widespread adoption of capture technologies.
The plant is designed to demonstrate NET Power's Allam Cycle technology, which uses a new turbine and combustor developed specifically for the process by Toshiba, NET Power said in a statement. Firing the combustor involves the integrated operation of the full NET Power process. As a next step the company said the unit will be integrated with the turbine and power will be generated.
"Using CO2 as a working fluid to drive a combustion turbine, the Allam Cycle eliminates virtually all emissions from natural gas power generation without requiring expensive, efficiency-reducing carbon capture equipment," NET Power said.
The company said passage of 45Q carbon capture tax credit reform will mean "large demand for NET Power plants and Toshiba turbines, beginning in the very near term."
Officials previously told Utility Dive that the demonstration plant is being constructed at a tenth of the size of the first commercial-sized oxy-combustion natural gas plant, which will collect 890,000 metric tons of CO2 a year.
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