Innovative zero-emissions power plant achieves another major milestone


McDermott’s NET Power project in La Porte, Texas, achieved first fire of its supercritical carbon dioxide (CO₂) demonstration power plant last week, an achievement highlighted by leading science, industry and technology publications.
First fire is a critical milestone for the demonstration plant, as it validates the fundamental operability and technical foundation of NET Power’s new power system, which is designed to produce low-cost electricity from natural gas while generating near-zero atmospheric emissions, including full CO₂ capture. The commissioning of the demonstration power plant and test facility will demonstrate commercial viability of this new technology.
In the scientific journal, Nature, author Jeff Toleffson’s article stated that what separates the La Porte facility from a standard power plant is the CO₂ cycle at its core. Toleffson wrote that unlike conventional power plants that burn fossil fuels to generate steam that ultimately emits CO₂ as a byproduct, “NET Power will drive its turbine with a loop of hot, pressurized CO₂. The first step is to fill the system with CO₂, which must then be heated in order to drive the turbine — much like a conventional power plant heats water to create steam.”
Calling NET Power a “game-changing carbon-capture power plant,” MIT Technology Review reported that “the technology could provide a cheap, clean, and flexible source of power for the grid, capable of ramping up and down with demand more easily than standard solar and wind plants can.” Earlier this year, MIT Technology Review also listed NET Power on its 2018 list of 10 breakthrough technologies.
Power magazine associate editor, Sonal Patel, wrote that the success of the pilot plant in La Porte will allow NET Power to build larger facilities, each of which is envisioned to be commercial-scale 300 MWe natural gas plants.
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