Carbon capture may soon become a reality

A new, US$140 million, 50-megawatt natural gas power plant is being constructed in an industrial zone in La Porte in Texas, which, if all goes to plan, will capture most of the carbon dioxide it produces without incurring significantly higher costs. If the natural gas demonstration plant, called Net Power, works as expected it should capture carbon at nearly no cost. Currently, most coal and natural gas plants work by burning fossil fuels that generate heat, which then converts water into steam that turns turbines and generate electricity — any excess heat and greenhouse gases are vented to the atmosphere. Attempts at carbon capture have involved adding scrubbers at the end of the system, which adds costs. Net Power, however, uses the so-called Allam Cycle, in which the steam cycle is eliminated by replacing water with supercritical carbon dioxide, which behaves as both a liquid and gas and acts as a “working fluid” for driving the turbines. The system recuperates as much of the heat as possible and returns the carbon dioxide to the beginning of the cycle. To find out more check out NET POWER BREAKS GROUND ON DEMONSTRATION PLANT FOR WORLD’S FIRST EMISSIONS-FREE, LOW-COST FOSSIL FUEL POWER TECHNOLOGY.