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Utility Builds Zero-Carbon Gas Power Plants

NET Power, a utility set up in 2010, is building zero-carbon natural gas-fired power plants in the United States and abroad and plans on making them cheap enough in the future to compete with traditional fossil fuel power plants.

Forbes’s Jeff McMachon reports that the company revealed its multiple projects, which involve carbon capture, at a workshop organized by the National Laboratories of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

"We have multiple 300MW-scale commercial projects in development," Adam Goff, a senior executive at NET Power’s parent company, 8 Rivers Capital, said. "None of them are announced yet, but we’ve got a couple in the U.S. and then some in Canada, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Europe—the regions of the world where we have interest in developing these projects."

According to its website, NET Power generates cheaper electricity than traditional fossil fuel-powered facilities by utilizing a proprietary thermodynamic cycle called the Allam Cycle. The cycle, the company said, allows for the elimination of all emissions, including those of carbon dioxide.

Any carbon dioxide produced in the process of burning the natural gas to power the turbines is in the form of a “high-pressure, high-quality byproduct, ready for pipeline transportation and storage.” Moreover, the company uses this high-pressure CO2 instead of the heat used in traditional power plants to spin the turbine.

Whatever CO2 is not used in this way can then be reused in enhanced oil recovery, the company said.

Related: Why Is U.S. Demand For Solar Panels Booming?

NET Power made headlines last year when it revealed its 50-MW demonstration plant in Texas, saying at the time that its generation cycle solves the ultimate problem of carbon capture technology: the decline in efficiency of the facility where this carbon is captured.

Now, the company has ambitious plans and they will start in the U.S.: "We see the U.S. as a launching pad where 45Q makes it the best place to launch projects," Goff said at the workshop. The 45Q tax incentive gives a US$50 tax credit per every ton of sequestered CO2.

Going forward, however, these plants will be built all around the world with a focus on Asia and Africa.

"But over the long run, most of your projects aren’t going to be in the U.S. They’re going to be in your developing countries in Asia and in Africa, so you’re going to see China, India, Indonesia. To do that you have to be really cheap. You have to be at cost parity if not better than cost parity with conventional generation," Goff also said.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Rick Stockton on July 23 2019 said:
    This is NOT a "zero carbon gas design". The Company plays with words like "emissions", and pretends that sending all of the generated co2 out through piplines makes it all disappear.

    The 'Allam Cycle' is well-documented here: https://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/fossil-fuels/this-power-plant-runs-on-co2.

    If you read carefully, you will see that the Natural Gas input is 1.25% of total input mass. While running, 94% of total input mass is recycled co2. The rest of the input, 4.75%, is Oxygen, which is used to BURN the natural gas, resulting in *MORE* CO2, plus Water.

    The mass of new co2 released is very small in comparison to large mass of recycled co2. But it is exactly the same mass of co2 which would be created by normal and complete burning of Natural Gas in a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere. From 6.0% combined total input mass of oxygen and natural gas "input", we obtain 2.75% newly created water output mass, plus 3.25% *NEW* co2 output mass. The 94% "input and output" mass of co2 being recycled is irrelevant to the burning process, it roughly behaves as a liquid solution in which the burning occurs.

    2.75% + 3.25% (the mass of new output products) == 1.25% + 4.75% (the mass of the totally consumed input products. The fact that a large amount of CO2 goes around and around, unreleased, doesn't erase the fact that ALL of the natural gas was burned into CO2 and Water, in the presence of oxygen. The fact that it can be distributed using pipelines, and sequestered in various ways, might be advantageous. But is is being generated, and it must be either be 'sequestered' or released into the atmosphere.

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