A 'near-zero' emission gas power plant to be built in Texas

A first-of-its-kind facility is currently being designed, and construction is expected to begin next year.
Ameya Paleja
The demonstration facility at La Porte, Texas
The demonstration facility at La Porte, Texas

NET Power 

The Zachary Group, an engineering firm based in the U.S., has bagged the rights to design and build the world's first "near-zero" emissions gas-powered plant in Texas. The technology for the plant was developed by NET Power, a clean energy technology company also based in the U.S.

As countries look to reduce their carbon footprint, a lot of work is being put into developing and building the next generation of power generation tools that can tap into wind, solar, or tidal energies. While these are note-worthy efforts, addressing the current energy demand with available sources of power is also necessary, and companies like NET Power are working to reduce emissions from these processes.

How does a near-zero emission plant work?

Headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, NET Power invents and develops clean power generation technologies and licenses them. The "near-zero" emission gas-powered plant is also among its patented technology for clean power generation.

The plant burns natural gas with oxygen to drive a turbine, much like a regular gas plant. However, the combustion of natural gas occurs in a 'supercritical CO2 cycle' following a carbon capture system deployed to trap carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

The captured carbon is then taken to an underground sequestration facility, making it a "near-zero" emissions gas plant. NET Power has already developed a proof of concept for the plant at its demonstration facility in La Porte, Texas.

A 'near-zero' emission gas power plant to be built in Texas
How near-zero emission gas plant works

The technology has now been licensed to the Zachary Group, which is looking into the front-end engineering design (FEED), expected to be completed by the end of the year. Following this, the engineering firm will take up the responsibility of constructing the power plant near Odessa, Texas. Come 2026, the 300 MW power plant is expected to go online as well.

NET Power is looking at a standard modularized utility-scale design approach to keep the costs of construction down, paving the way for the construction of more plants in the future.

While the approach does not completely negate carbon emissions, it does help in delaying their release. Such an approach can help in meeting energy demand using fossil fuels until a time when bottlenecks in renewable energy generation and storage are solved and zero-carbon technologies are ready to power the grid 24/7.

This may be the first-of-its-kind facility to be built in the world. But given its potential, it surely won't be the last.

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