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NET Power develops first emissions free fossil fuel power technology

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

NET Power, LLC, has broken ground on a first of a kind power plant that will validate a new natural gas power system that produces low cost electricity with zero atmospheric emissions, including carbon dioxide. NET Power is a collaboration between Exelon Generation, CB&I, and 8 Rivers Capital. The 50 MW demonstration plant is being built in La Porte, Texas.

The plant will demonstrate NET Power’s Allam Cycle technology, which uses carbon dioxide as a working fluid to drive a combustion turbine, eliminates all atmospheric emissions without requiring expensive, efficiency reducing carbon capture equipment, and ultimately produces pipeline quality CO2 that can be sequestered or used in various industrial processes, including enhanced oil recovery.

“NET Power is the first technology that allows policy and economics to work together, instead of against each other, to ensure the world meets our climate targets,” said NET Power’s CEO, Bill Brown. “Today marks a significant step for our world-class team, including Exelon, CB&I, 8 Rivers and Toshiba, towards delivering a technology that will be the cornerstone of a modern global energy infrastructure that is clean, affordable and flexible.”

Executives from each of the companies gathered on the site to mark the start of construction of the demonstration plant. The US$140 million programme – which not only includes demonstration plant design and construction, but also ongoing technology advancement, a full testing and operations programme, and commercial product development – is funded by a combination of cash and in-kind contributions from Exelon and CB&I. Toshiba has developed and is now manufacturing a new supercritical CO2 turbine and combustor for the project. CB&I is performing the engineering, procurement, and construction of the plant. Exelon is providing operations, maintenance, and development services. 8 Rivers invented and continues to advance the technology behind the project.

NET Power uses a novel process – an oxy fuel, supercritical CO2 power cycle – to produce electricity efficiently while inherently eliminating all air emissions. The system burns natural gas with oxygen, as opposed to air, and uses high-pressure carbon dioxide, as opposed to inefficient steam like most power plants, to drive a turbine. NET Power produces only electricity, liquid water and pipeline ready CO2, all while operating as efficiently as the best natural gas power plants available today. Additionally, for a small reduction in efficiency, the technology can operate without water, actually becoming a net water producer. For the first time, cleaner energy does not mean more expensive energy, and, as a result, our global climate goals are within reach.

NET Power’s 50 MW plant will be a fully operational unit that will generate power to the grid while demonstrating all key aspects of the Allam Cycle. Commissioning is expected to begin in late 2016 and be completed in 2017. The plant will also provide the validation to begin constructing the first 29 5MWe, commercial scale NET Power plants. NET Power is already engaged with customers across several industries on the design and development of these projects.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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