On 16 November, NET Power, a clean energy company whose technology is said to affordably generate zero-emission electricity from natural gas, announced that it has delivered electricity to the ERCOT grid from its 50 MWt test facility in La Porte, Texas. This is thought to be the first time anywhere in the world this kind of generation has been achieved, and is expected to represent a major milestone for the energy industry.
NET Power's technology burns natural gas and uses supercritical CO2 to generate electricity, while inherently capturing CO2 and has now been validated in its delivery of electricity to the grid. This industry-changing achievement is expected to accelerate the commercialisation of a game-changing technology.
"This is a [first of a kind] breakthrough for energy – zero-emission, low-cost electricity delivered to the grid from natural gas-fuelled technology," said NET Power CEO Ron DeGregorio. "Now we can … accelerate development of commercial NET Power projects around the world that are urgently needed to help achieve aggressive climate targets at an affordable price."
NET Power is working with multiple clients worldwide to develop utility-scale NET Power plants, with initial projects aiming to come online in the next five years. All CO2 captured by these plants will be permanently stored or utilised. NET Power projects have been publicly announced for locations in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
NET Power's technology combusts natural gas with oxygen, instead of air, and uses supercritical carbon dioxide as a working fluid to drive a turbine, rather than steam. NET Power does not produce any nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx) or particulate pollution, and the residual CO2 is pipeline-quality, to either be stored in underground geologic formations or utilised for industrial processes.
Toshiba supplied the combustor and turbine for the La Porte test facility and was a key partner in the demonstration of NET Power's technology.
*Supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) is a fluid state of carbon dioxide where it is held at or above its critical temperature and critical pressure. If the temperature and pressure are both increased to a point at or above the critical point for carbon dioxide, it can adopt properties midway between a gas and a liquid.