New Gas-Fired Technology Gains Backers

A new gas-fired power generation technology that uses an oxyfuel, high-pressure, supercritical carbon dioxide cycle and produces pipeline-ready carbon dioxide for sequestration or use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR), without reducing plant efficiency, garnered the interest of three new partners in June. The Shaw Group, Exelon Corp., and Toshiba Corp. said they would back Durham, N.C.–based NET Power’s efforts to develop a pilot natural gas plant that could begin operating within the next two years.

NET Power spokesperson Walker Dimmig told POWER, “We did not invent another carbon capture technology, but rather developed a novel power generation technology that utilizes carbon dioxide as a working fluid throughout the process, enabling us to inherently eliminate atmospheric carbon emissions.” The technology burns natural gas or synthetic gas from coal gasification with pure oxygen; its byproducts are mostly water and the carbon dioxide that is recycled by the process.

The first two phases of the project will involve front end engineering and combustor rig testing, which are expected to be completed later this year; Phase 3, to be completed in mid-2014, involves construction and commissioning of a small-scale 25-MW natural gas plant (at an undisclosed location) that will capture all emissions and generate revenue from the sale of electricity, and carbon dioxide for EOR. Development of the first full-scale commercial 250-MW natural gas plant is expected to begin thereafter, in late 2014 or early 2015.

NET Power, which developed the system and calls it the “Allam Cycle” (Figure 6), after lead inventor Rodney Allam, is expected to be responsible for overall project development and systems engineering of the pilot project; Toshiba will design, test, and manufacture a combustor and turbine for it; Shaw will provide engineering, procurement, and construction services; and Exelon is expected to support development and operation of the 25-MW plant by selecting the site, obtaining permits, and commissioning the facility. Early in June, Shaw said it would provide up to $50.4 million in cash and in-kind services to the effort and acquire up to 50% of NET Power as certain milestones are completed during the four phases of the project.

6. A flexible technology platform.  NET Power, The Shaw Group, Exelon Corp., and Toshiba Corp. have partnered to develop a new gas-fired power generation technology that they say produces pipeline-ready carbon dioxide for sequestration or use in enhanced oil recovery and are looking to put into operation a small-scale 25-MW plant by mid-2014. The technology is called the “Allam Cycle,” after inventor Rodney Allam. Courtesy: NET Power

The technology has “transformative applications” and can be integrated into a variety of industrial processes, such as liquefied natural gas, enhanced oil recovery fields, and concentrated solar plants. “Although the initial system will utilize natural gas, future applications of NET Power will use coal, integrating with current gasifiers, and biomass,” the company said in a statement in June.

—Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.