In April 2019, we reported on the innovative work performed at the LaPorte, TX demonstration natural gas power plant and testing facility owned and operated by NET Power, LLC, a Durham NC based energy group. The 50 MW power plant, which uses Marley NC® Cooling Towers, achieved first-fire of the world’s first large-scale supercritical carbon dioxide power plant in May 2018, proving the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle. Today, it is an operational testing facility.
With a goal of global deployment of 300MW e-class commercial-scale power plants in 2023, the plant’s power generation process – known as the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle – has shown much-welcomed positive results in efficiently producing lower-cost electricity while capturing pipeline-ready carbon dioxide, liquid water, and industrial grade nitrogen and argonne – all with zero air emissions and no nitrogen oxide pollution.
REUSE AND RECYCLING OF VALUABLE NATURAL RESOURCES
Such enviable results of using natural gas – which wind and solar power production efforts are still attempting to produce – offer additional benefits to the power industry. Capturing natural elements, instead of emitting them as greenhouse gases, enables the next step forward into the future of cleaner, sustainable, affordable power – the emergence of a new economy surrounding the reuse and recycling of natural byproducts as valuable industrial resources.
Rather than emitting greenhouse gases, industrially useful and valuable CO2 is captured and salable, along with other industrial gas byproducts (Argon and Nitrogen). These gases then can cleanly drive lower cost, carbon-sequestering enhanced oil recovery, sour gas cleanup, production of concrete and plastics, and oxygen production.
Other paths toward reuse and recycling of CO2 are emerging as well. One notable project is being conducted by Carb Fix, a company that is working on mixing captured CO2 with water and injecting it deep into the earth where the CO2 chemically bonds with basalt rock to form new rock within the timeframe of a few years rather than over a period of hundreds of years. This project holds promise that this secure, cost-effective, and environmentally benign method of reducing atmospheric CO2 levels can one day be applied worldwide.
CARBON CAPTURE LEADS THE WAY TO A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
With the win-win combination of new processes to generate affordable electricity, capture byproduct emissions, resell industrially valuable resources, and injection of captured CO2 to form new rock, the power industry could be standing at the threshold of a multi-faceted sustainable future for all of us – one with the additional possibilities of lower power plant construction costs, longer power plant life spans, zero greenhouse gas emissions, and reuse/recycling of valuable natural resources.