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The next energy revolution: US companies announce world’s first CO2-free gas-fired power plants

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Colorado and Illinois are slated to host the world’s first emissions-free gas power plants, according to an announcement yesterday from a clean technology company.

Net Power LLC’s pilot natural gas power plant in La Porte, Texas, achieved “first fire” in 2018. Yesterday, developers announced that the company’s technology is now planned for two at-scale plants in Colorado and Illinois. @_NetPower/Twitter

8 Rivers Capital LLC announced plans to build an at-scale gas plant in each state by 2025, deploying proprietary technology from Net Power LLC to generate 280 megawatts of clean electricity.

Industry observers called yesterday’s announcements “huge” and said Net Power’s technology could be instrumental to realizing a lower-carbon electric grid in the United States.

Unlike at a conventional natural gas plant, the energy startup’s technology burns natural gas with pure oxygen, instead of the air, only producing carbon dioxide and water as byproducts. Most of the CO2 is reused as part of Net Power’s four-step cycle, with the excess CO2 captured and “pipeline ready” for underground storage.

Founded in 2010, Net Power achieved “first fire” in 2018 at its testing facility outside of Houston, which the company says validated the technology (Greenwire, May 31, 2018).

8 Rivers is a co-owner of Net Power and is developing each of the projects with separate parties. Both plants would be connected to the grid, according to the developers.

Rich Powell, executive director of the conservative clean energy group ClearPath, called Net Power’s technology a “game changer” and said it could leverage the “virtually infinite supply of low-cost natural gas” in the United States.

“If this thing works, the job of decarbonizing the U.S. power sector gets a whole lot easier,” Powell said yesterday, adding that the “major hurdles are really behind these projects.”

Net Power said it plans to license out the technology. Natural gas makes up roughly 36% of total U.S. electricity generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Deepika Nagabhushan, program director of decarbonized fossil energy at the Clean Air Task Force, said in a statement that it’s exciting to see another “carbon capture technology company working to develop projects to supply zero-carbon firm power, which we know is going to be key to achieving [a] net-zero carbon electricity grid.”

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