Companies announce world’s first CO2-free gas plants

Here is their Twitter announcement

We told you we were serious about carbon capture & #CCUS! Check out this exciting announcement on commercialization. We are proud of our partners. #decadeofaction #np2050 #wecapturecarbon #environment #economy Thx @AkshatRathi @8riverscapital #NetZero

Originally tweeted by NET Power (@_NETPower) on April 15, 2021.

And additional coverage from E&E News

Carlos Anchondo, E&E News reporter Published: Friday, April 16, 2021

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

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.

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.”

Full article here.

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Dennis G Sandberg
April 18, 2021 10:07 am

That’s the good news, the bad news is the O2 plant costs more to build and operate than the generation plant. CO2 is not the climate control knob. Give it up.

Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
April 18, 2021 10:33 am

The left won’t like it, I’m guessing, as it’ll compete with their worthless schemes, besides using natural gas.

Reply to  Scissor
April 18, 2021 11:39 am

It is a stupid idea, we don’t need extra bit of water, but plants need all the CO2 they can get. Greenhouses optimal CO2 concentration is about 1500ppm. Humans are not bothered, the exhaling CO2 is up to 30,000 ppm, while if there is any effect on climate warming, the benefits are by far greater than any possible drawbacks.

Last edited 19 days ago by Vuk
John Dueker
Reply to  Vuk
April 18, 2021 2:04 pm

I’m not experienced with co2 but osha says otherwise:

10,000 ppm (1.0%) Typically no effects, possible drowsiness
15,000 ppm (1.5%) Mild respiratory stimulation for some people
30,000 ppm (3.0%) Moderate respiratory stimulation, increased heart rate and blood pressure, ACGIH TLV-Short Term
40,000 ppm (4.0%) Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH)

John Dilks
Reply to  John Dueker
April 18, 2021 3:23 pm

What you just quoted proves his statement.

Pat Frank
Reply to  John Dueker
April 18, 2021 3:24 pm

That’s not “otherwise,” John. That’s confirmatory.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  John Dueker
April 18, 2021 3:41 pm

Regardless of what NIOSH/OSHA or the CDC say, Vuk is correct. Human exhalation contains approximately 38,000 ppm of CO2. More if you decide to hold your breathe for a bit.

Reply to  John Dueker
April 18, 2021 4:29 pm

The amount of carbon dioxide is about 400ppm or 0.04% in the air we breathe in. The air we breathe out contains about 3 to 4%. However this 4.0% will be quickly diluted by the air air around us to about 0.04%. If you have many people in a room and the ventilation in this room is poor the dilution obviously will be less.
A good example is a submarine. Usually they operate at between 3000 and 5000ppm since they have no fresh air ventilation. So they have different systems to capture the CO2 to stay within this range.

Charles Higley
Reply to  rd50
April 18, 2021 5:45 pm

Large concerts tend to be about 15,000 ppm CO2 and no one complains.

Reply to  Charles Higley
April 19, 2021 2:27 am

Interesting. Let us know the published data of 15,000 ppm CO2.
You measured this in a large concert?

Reply to  John Dueker
April 18, 2021 5:29 pm

The reason for effects in the upper range is because you don’t get the intechange of CO2 and O2 in the lungs, leading to a deficit of O2 in the body’s systems

Hence , some people experience some drowsiness at 1% +

At any possible whole of atmosphere level, CO2 has absolutley no untoward effects on humand physiology.

Reply to  fred250
April 19, 2021 2:30 am

Pure nonsense.

Reply to  Vuk
April 19, 2021 11:28 am

Isn’t water vapor a stronger greenhouse gas then CO2??

Reply to  Philip
April 19, 2021 12:21 pm

don’t say that …

they’ll morph over to needing ‘water capture’ as well.

Reply to  Scissor
April 18, 2021 2:58 pm

The left won’t like it, I’m guessing, as it’ll compete with their worthless schemes, besides using natural gas.”

I agree, excellent observation.

Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
April 18, 2021 10:42 am

Yabut, given the choice between this and ‘renewables’, the choice is easy. Renewables don’t work, this might.

Having said the above, I’ve watched a few energy technologies over the years. So far, none have made it past the pilot plant stage. Usually the technology actually works but something emerges that makes them uneconomical.

Reply to  commieBob
April 18, 2021 11:02 am

A lot have made it past pilot scale and then failed when the taxpayers took a much bigger hit than pilot scale losses. DOE loan and grant programs actually promote this premature scale up with incentives and a blind eye at due diligence.

Reply to  commieBob
April 18, 2021 11:52 am

Yeah, but we get some impressive structures out of it!

Look at Crescent Dunes:
comment image

That is our Stonehenge!!!

And in 2000 years, no doubt the questions of archeologists will be similar to ours about Stonehenge: Who built it and why? Was it used to make contact the Sun God by recreating the Sun on the Earth? A way to cook food rapidly? A method of human sacrifice to the Sun god?

Its intended use: electricity production to mitigate atmospheric CO2, and prevent the end of the world, will probably never cross their minds. (lol)

Last edited 19 days ago by Anon
Reply to  Anon
April 18, 2021 12:00 pm

I don’t think it’ll last 50 years, let alone 5000.

dodgy geezer
Reply to  Anon
April 18, 2021 12:25 pm

Looking at the logic of the structure, they will assume that it is a giant bird and insect destroying machine, just like the remains of the whirling arm minders that they also found.

And learned papers will be written about the great bird and insect scourge of the 2000s. Perhaps they will connect it with Covid and hypothesise that this was one way that we tried to suppress diseases spread by animal vectors…

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Anon
April 18, 2021 1:01 pm

I’m guessing some version of a cargo cult structure, aping a previous more “advanced” civilization … but as Scissor said, I don’t see it outlasting this century; never mind 5000 years.

Reply to  Rory Forbes
April 18, 2021 1:26 pm

We need to hope for a quick volcanic/ Pompeii style burial then. 🙂

Charles Higley
Reply to  Anon
April 18, 2021 5:48 pm

We has electrified bug zappers and now we have industrial scale bird zappers. What’s next jet plane zappers?

Rich Davis
Reply to  commieBob
April 18, 2021 1:59 pm

Um, like maybe wasting a huge fraction of the energy in the fuel on non-value-added work extracting and compressing CO2 from the flue gas, or separating oxygen out of the air?

Only if they can use the CO2 to extract oil from old wells that no longer produce with conventional methods does this possibly make any sense. But why exactly do you need pure CO2 if all you’re going to do with it is pump it into the ground?

Of course as dumb ideas go, it’s not as dumb as depending on the sun to shine or the wind to blow to be able to keep the grid up, and then subsidizing the unreliables and/or requiring electric utilities to use the uneconomic power whenever it happens to be available.

oeman 50
Reply to  Rich Davis
April 19, 2021 8:58 am

Actually the over all efficiency of the plant with the oxygen separator and the CO2 compression is approximately the same as for a coal plant. This really beats a coal plant or a regular gas plant with CCS. BTW, the article says, “Most of the CO2 is reused…” , not true. Once the cycle is filled with supercritical CO2, you have to take out as much as you capture from new fuel coming in.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  oeman 50
April 19, 2021 9:21 am

Do you have a citation to support your claim that the efficiency “is approximately the same as for a coal plant.”?

Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  commieBob
April 18, 2021 5:22 pm

I have a friend who works in this area. Not sure if this is his company or a competitor. The process works just fine, and the combustion is more efficient than using air because you don’t have to heat up the nitrogen and argon along with the oxygen. The drawback is the oxygen plant to get you all that oxygen at 95+% purity. This costs money and uses energy. If a pressure-swing-adsorption train will get to the purity you need, then much less expensive than a liquid air distillation (Linde process).

Reply to  Loren C. Wilson
April 20, 2021 1:00 pm

The “drawback” is the problem. Compression energy. You also have compression on the CO2 side. If this made sense, every gas powered power plant would be using pure oxygen. They don’t. Because it costs a lot of money.

Charles Higley
Reply to  commieBob
April 18, 2021 5:47 pm

I like the artificial tree idea that removes CO2 from the air using chemical precipitation. Efficient? No. Stupid, yes! But they got funding anyhow.

Reply to  commieBob
April 19, 2021 8:17 pm

The only effect this system has is to dramatically raise the cost of providing energy to the consumer. Producing the pure O2 and then capturing and storing the CO2 is expensive and pointless.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
April 18, 2021 12:19 pm

CO2 just wannabe free to play among the trees. This is nothing more than a 1619 project for CO2. Capture and enslave.. This could lead to civil war.

Reply to  Bill Powers
April 18, 2021 12:33 pm

Or it could just fizz out, like so many fads.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Scissor
April 18, 2021 1:02 pm

“Fizz” just like in ‘sody-pop’.

Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
April 18, 2021 3:17 pm

Capture is the easy bit. Did you notice that it doesn’t do the storage? It’s CC not CCS. Right after they can’t find a taker for the CO2, out into the atmosphere it goes.

oeman 50
Reply to  Mike Jonas
April 19, 2021 9:01 am

Mike, you are correct about the storage bit. But the Gulf of Mexico and lands along the Gulf have huge storage potential for CO2. That still does not make it cheap.

Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
April 19, 2021 7:36 am

One good thing is that without the nitrogen in the air going in the combustion there will be no NOx emissions. And that has a proven effect on respiratory illnesses like astma.

April 18, 2021 10:17 am

“excess CO2 captured and “pipeline ready”. Cool! Can they send it directly to the brewery and use it in beer?

Reply to  2hotel9
April 18, 2021 10:25 am

A lot of brewers capture CO2 and sell it to the beverage industry or for other uses, e.g., to supplement greenhouse grows.

Reply to  Scissor
April 18, 2021 11:06 am

Yea, evil greenhouses and brewers destroying the ‘vironment! A place close to my house grows flowers and vegetables and he came to the bar and borrowed their spare Co2 bottle, his had leached out from last season.

Reply to  2hotel9
April 18, 2021 12:43 pm

> Can they send it directly to the brewery and use it in beer?
CO2 is a by-product of brewing, breweries don’t “use it”, they create it..
The CO2 produced when making beer is frequently used to “carbonate” soft drinks.

Reply to  StuM
April 19, 2021 3:19 am

It is amazing how people simply don’t “get” humor anymore. I blame the left.

Reply to  2hotel9
April 19, 2021 6:21 am

“It is amazing how people simply don’t “get” humor anymore. I blame the left.”

Sorry 2. Whatever else you think of “the left”, they OWN humor. That’s why “Conservative Comedy Show”, at least in the funny sense, is a nonexistent oxymoron…

But there IS plenty of it, unintended. When the most prominent alt.right congressional spokesperson/statutory rapist comes to us pre-caricatured, we leftists got no complaints….

Last edited 18 days ago by bigoilbob
Reply to  bigoilbob
April 19, 2021 7:17 am

And you prove yourself, yet again, to be fact free. Bless its little heart, it cain’t help itself.

Reply to  2hotel9
April 19, 2021 7:19 am

And you prove yourself, yet again, to be fact free.”

My post was chock full of facts. Which of them do you want documented?

Reply to  bigoilbob
April 19, 2021 8:33 am

Ahhh, you’re so precious.

Reply to  bigoilbob
April 19, 2021 12:49 pm

Oily Bob,

When one of the lefts’ leaders pooped himself, and did the slow squishy exit stage right, it was a sad and sorry to almost everyone.

If it had been one of the leaders of the non-left, it would have been sad & sorry as well, but the left that ‘own the humor’ would have pushed it as hilarious.

You likely would join in on the public ridicule type of humor that the left owns, given a hypothetical non-left equivalent to Nadler. (But privately, because of your own personal reminders, you would feel sorry for the guy). That is the type of hypocritical ridicule humor that the you & left own. Own it and be proud.

Reply to  DonM
April 19, 2021 12:59 pm

“When one of the lefts’ leaders pooped himself, and did the slow squishy exit stage right, it was a sad and sorry to almost everyone.”

Uh, you mean THIS lie, pimped by Qanon?

Folks, this is what happens when you have Secret Squirrelers speaking only to each other….

Reply to  bigoilbob
April 19, 2021 3:09 pm

You do realize that the article that you referenced was a spoof? It was no fact check of the Nadler incident; it was a spoof of fact checkers (with a sideline of Jewish insult).

But you can continue with your belief system & fantasy facts anyway. (If you dig deeper you’ll find a doctored photo of Trump with a similar claim … you can accept it as reality.)

Reply to  DonM
April 19, 2021 3:40 pm

“You do realize that the article that you referenced was a spoof? It was no fact check of the Nadler incident; it was a spoof of fact checkers (with a sideline of Jewish insult).”

Not any of your claims has a scintilla of truth. It was a dead straight article, with not a whit of antisemitism. In fact, the article detailed why telling this lie about a Jewish US rep is especially effective.

But bigger pic, who cares? It’s not like he got caught doing the Yankee Yam in front of a faux reporter.

Even if it were true, is THIS an example of conservative “funny”? If so, then typically middle school. What you WON’T find are any above ground outlets – even those in comedy – that joke about it. AGAIN, they unlike the cons, when they joke, they punch UP.

Last edited 18 days ago by bigoilbob
Reply to  bigoilbob
April 19, 2021 5:14 pm

Read the comments below the article ….
The author is a known spoofer.

You are easily fooled.

I hadn’t decided if you were a fool or a shill.

I have now decided.

Reply to  DonM
April 19, 2021 6:25 pm

Read the comments below the article ….
The author is a known spoofer.”

Apparently you lost your way. The “comments” are where you find the antisemitism. And any “spoofing” is in their wishful, fevered, fevered imaginings. Which is why you can’t show any other such “spoofs”.

But once again, your prurient interest in this faux event is typical of what passes for humor in con circles. Big on the bathroom quality of it, and favoring those who don’t fight back. I.e., the spine free variety….

Reply to  StuM
April 19, 2021 8:28 am

Look up “counter-pressure bottling”. Yes, it’s a by-product, but breweries ALSO use it.

Reply to  StuM
April 19, 2021 12:37 pm

mebbe he was talking of beer like bud lite, that starts out flat.

Devils tower
April 18, 2021 10:19 am

So what is cost of electricity 3x

Reply to  Devils tower
April 18, 2021 12:36 pm

They claim it’s equivalent to that of combined cycle power plant. Hard to believe but it looks interesting.

The Dark Lord
Reply to  Scissor
April 18, 2021 2:21 pm

thats mathematically and physically impossible … i.e. they are lying … if you expend energy to create the pure O2 and store the CO2 you have already reduced the plants output by those energy costs … plus the initial costs to build the O2 plant and CO2 storage which need to be spread over the life of the plant are easily a doubling of initial costs …

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  The Dark Lord
April 18, 2021 3:52 pm

Probably not far off regarding costs. Per the article, each 280 MW plant will cost $500 million, or about $2 per watt, which is about double the cost of a straight up combined cycle gas plant.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
April 18, 2021 4:32 pm

Is there a fuel saving overall or does the O2 separation use more energy than saved in more efficient combustion?

I wonder what the combustion temperature actually is and how they avoid melting the internals?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  RickWill
April 19, 2021 9:26 am

They can lower the combustion temperature by diluting the oxygen stream with nitrogen. 🙂

oeman 50
Reply to  The Dark Lord
April 19, 2021 9:10 am

The reason for the efficiency is they use what is called the Allam Cycle, an entirely different thermodynamic cycle than used in current power plants. They do not have to condense the working fluid (CO2) and reject that heat. But it does use higher temperatures and pressures which requires some exotic materials, increasing the cost over current technologies.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for this, but I find it interesting even in the absence of a CO2 capture purpose. I met some of the NETPower engineers involved in the development a few years ago and found this plausible.

April 18, 2021 10:28 am

‘first emissions-free gas power plants’

‘excess CO2 captured and “pipeline ready” for underground storage’

I get it – if you can capture your emissions and “pipe” them somewhere else, that is now the definition of “emissions-free”.

So, my fossil-fueled car, which has a “pipeline” to the atmosphere directly behind the car, is “emissions-free” since I am “pipelining” it to another area.

The real scientific breakthrough in this posting is the calculated manipulation of the English language to make “emissions-free” mean something completely different and opposite of what any rational person thinks it means.

Reply to  mrsell
April 18, 2021 11:25 am

Green technology, in a word. Carbon credits, too. Shared/shifted responsibility.

Tom in Toronto
Reply to  mrsell
April 18, 2021 11:37 am

Yep – Occidental producing “Green Oil”. By purchasing offsets. LOL!

Pillage Idiot
April 18, 2021 10:31 am

To believe these projects can be scaled up to the national level requires an ignorance of both engineering and economics.

Some plants will have a market for their CO2 output. That is clearly the best option. Unfortunately (for the Greens), this option is usually CO2 injection for tertiary oil recovery.

The next best option is no market for the CO2 output, but a ready place for sequestration. Once again, this is probably mostly limited to the oil patch where you can inject into depleted oil or gas fields at some cost to the electrical generation plant.

Some other plant in a heavily industrialized area might find a market for all of their CO2, but only if they are the first mover.

After that, there is nowhere else to go with the CO2 – other than the atmosphere.

Reply to  Pillage Idiot
April 18, 2021 10:40 am

Wait a day or two for the Tweet:

Elon Musk will take it to Mars with him, to terraform the planet. Applying for billion dollar govt. subsidy package, once Biden infrastructure bill becomes law.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Anon
April 18, 2021 2:08 pm

One BILLION dollars? More like $100 TRILLION dollars.
H/t dr evil

Keith Harrison
April 18, 2021 10:33 am

Is anyone aware where as in geographical and the underground geology, the captured CO2 will be sequestered? How much of it can be captured? Will it be compressed to liquid or stored as a compressed gas only?

Reply to  Keith Harrison
April 18, 2021 11:12 am

The Colorado plant will be located in the SW and is associated with the Southern Ute Tribe. There are also natural CO2 wells in that area, so connection of the plant to existing CO2 infrastructure there makes sense.

The relatively simple scheme is called the Allam Cycle. See the figure in the following:

Ferdinand Engelbeen
Reply to  Scissor
April 18, 2021 12:15 pm

There are indeed a few interesting points in the concept, as they recycle part of the CO2 and the energy of the exhaust back into the inlet of the gas turbine.
The only remaining question of interest is how much energy they need for separating oxygen from the atmosphere in percent of energy delivered…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
April 18, 2021 12:40 pm

Take a look at the tables on the Allam Cycle in Wikipedia. The ratio of fuel and oxygen to recycled CO2 is low. So, for that reason the ASU is relatively small. With credits, I can see how individual plants can be profitable.

I also saw that the same power cycle is being studied for coal at EERC in North Dakota. That has to be a lot more difficult.

Reply to  Scissor
April 20, 2021 1:06 pm

“With credits”. So this plant destroys capital “without credits”.

oeman 50
Reply to  Scissor
April 19, 2021 9:16 am

Ah, good, Scissor, I had not seen this when I responded about the Allam Cycle above. A plant in Illinois will sit on a giant sandstone formation called the Mt. Simon, it is a huge CO2 reservoir. That is where ADM is injecting from their ethanol plant.

Pillage Idiot
April 18, 2021 10:36 am

I would like to know about “actual” pollution, rather than the live-sustaining gas called CO2.

For any of the process experts, if you combust methane in air, how much of the products are H20 and CO2 versus some pollutants like NOx?

In an environment where the pressures and mixing rates are controlled, are any significant nasty molecules actually formed?

Reply to  Pillage Idiot
April 18, 2021 10:48 am

Some NOx will form, though probably less than 0.1%, but getting rid of the nitrogen eliminates this and also eliminates the need to separate nitrogen from the captured CO2 product. Of course air separation units, as pointed out above, come with capital and operating expenses that really aren’t necessary without the CO2 boogeyman around.

There are also traces of organics and soot, that oxygen utilization will also reduce or eliminate. I’m guessing that carbon credits of some type will be significant for making this process economical to the investors and operators.

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  Scissor
April 18, 2021 11:45 am

Thanks Scissor, that was my question.

If CO2 is the problem, using pure O2 is not the solution.

If trace pollutants are the problem, then pure O2 is far too expensive from a cost/benefit analysis.

If you CLAIM to ameliorate both CO2 and pollutants, then I guess you can baffle them with bullsh*t.

Reply to  Pillage Idiot
April 18, 2021 12:04 pm

This short video is instructive. By recycling supercritical fluid CO2, they are able to get away with using a smaller air separation unit than one might expect. The turbine generator’s are produced by Toshiba. Based on the players involved, the technology looks solid in my opinion.

Curious George
Reply to  Scissor
April 18, 2021 1:45 pm

This is a marketing video, not a technical one. The CO2 is produced continuously and can’t be recycled indefinitely without a severe case of constipation.

oeman 50
Reply to  Curious George
April 19, 2021 9:21 am

You are correct, Once the cycle is started and filled, you have to get rid of as much as you generate with new fuel. I made this point above before I saw this post.

Reply to  Scissor
April 20, 2021 1:08 pm

Supercritical? That’s a heck of a lot of compression. How are you going to scale this to GW levels?

April 18, 2021 10:45 am

Does anyone else realize how very stupid this concept is?

Start with the wrong input assumptions, and drive forward to the wrong solution. Idiots!

April 18, 2021 11:01 am

It’s only stupid if you look at it as a total system (failure). If you look at it from a banker’s or supplier’s perspective it makes sense.

It’s kind of like the hubcap business that used to be thriving, in the Denver area at least. There was an outfit called Hubcap Annie, where people could come in and purchase “used” hubcaps at a significant discount off retail. That was at the front of the store. On the other side, people could bring in their “used” hubcaps and Annie would purchase them for pennies on the dollar.

Last edited 19 days ago by Scissor
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Scissor
April 19, 2021 9:32 am

Recycling! With specialists in the supply sector.

Al Miller
April 18, 2021 10:52 am

That would be great news…if CO2 was actually a problem!

Tsk Tsk
April 18, 2021 10:53 am

Great! Where’s the pure O2 well?

Reply to  Tsk Tsk
April 18, 2021 11:15 am

The land where deer and unicorns play.

Bruce Cobb
April 18, 2021 10:59 am

Great. I suppose the pure oxygen will come from the oxy fairy?

Ed Zuiderwijk
April 18, 2021 11:01 am

Most of the co2 is used in their ‘four step system’. What on earth does that mean?

I suspect NetPower have just rewritten some laws of physics and chemistry without asking our permission.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
April 18, 2021 11:20 am

I’d guess that the technology is solid. The Allam Cycle looks pretty simple, and it looks like they have good technical and engineering backing (Exelon Generation and McDermott).

Gord in Calgary
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
April 18, 2021 1:33 pm

I’m assuming from the process description the 4 steps are cooling, compressing, pumping, reheating to return CO2 gas to the inlet of the turbine. Removing N2 upfront removes 79% of the air volume, it needs to be made-up for the turbine to work. A gas turbine works by first compressing a large volume of air and then heating it, by mixing in and burning a small amount of gas fuel, it’s primarily this heated air that is expanded in a turbine to drive a generator and produce power. Perhaps the efficiency of the Allan cycle is better, but is the cost of the equipment and the energy required to run the processes overall better, doubtful?

April 18, 2021 11:04 am

Hmm, is it easier/less expensive to remove N2 before combustion or after combustion? Me thinks after combustion is the best place to do it, processing flue gas instead of air, because N2 CO2 separation is much easier than N2 O2 separation.

These yayhoos using their own money for this project, or other people’s money ?!?

Reply to  RelPerm
April 18, 2021 11:29 am

This describes the process in detail.

Supercritical CO2 is recycled and the result is high thermal efficiency, apparently. Chemically, it’s best to avoid N2 in combustion.

They are using investor’s money, but I expect that the investor’s don’t intend to lose money and pay lobbyists to help make this so.

Reply to  Scissor
April 18, 2021 12:22 pm

Thanks, Scissors for the Wiki link. It doesn’t address my thought on coming up with a pure water and CO2 emissions stream, is it easier to remove the nitrogen before or after combustion.

Does a pure O2 stream require no capital and no op cost? No.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Scissor
April 18, 2021 3:57 pm

At some point the CO2 has to be taken out of the stream, unless they plan to store it in the TARDIS.

Ron Long
April 18, 2021 11:10 am

Typical Greenies, they want to store CO2, a valuable and necessary plant food, underground all over the place, but are against storing nuclear waste under4ground at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, a secure part of the Nevada Test Site. Go figure.

Reply to  Ron Long
April 18, 2021 11:37 am

They might not want to publicize this, but it looks like the major use of the produced CO2 will be field flooding for enhanced oil recovery.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Scissor
April 18, 2021 1:05 pm


Reply to  Scissor
April 18, 2021 1:08 pm

An article on this half a dozen or so years ago (here at WUWT, I believe), when they were ready to start construction on the proof of concept plant, described it as the end of a long search (started perhaps in the ‘60s) of how to economically capture power plant produced CO2 for the commercial market (oil wells being one of the major, but hardly only, such market). Bowing to the climate crisis crowd is exactly like the times that every businessman used to go to church regularly to secure his position in the community, regardless of his belief about the sermons – virtue signaling for survival.

Reply to  Ron Long
April 18, 2021 1:30 pm

I’m a PhD nuclear engineer and a strong proponent of Nuclear. I even worked at Yucca Mtn. for a few years but Yucca is a bad place to store nuclear waste. From the top you can see the Lathrop Wells cinder cone nearby, a volcanic feature dated at just 4000 years old. The site is constantly suffering from ground twisting as shown by road surveys on I-95, it’s bisected by earthquake faults, and the ground water is shallow in some areas preventing expansion of the repository to meet future needs. But the worst part is that the ground water is highly oxidizing which increases the solubility of long-lived radioactive wastes by many orders of magnitude. Yucca Mtn. was obviously not selected on its scientific merits, it was purely a highly flawed political decision. The Swedes are close to opening a much better repository and the US has thousands of square miles of similar sites.

John Shotsky
Reply to  Meab
April 18, 2021 2:16 pm

Back in the 80’s, I worked on a project for the Savanna River project to ‘glassify’ nuclear waste. The output is 1 foot square blocks of glass that can be dumped into the ocean, far at sea. Of course, sand, to make the glass is not in short supply. Excess heat from the plant is use to perform the glassification.The glass won’t break down, the waste is stored safely away from any living thing. No leaching, no nothing. Just clean storage. Unfortunately, the greenies wanted to block all nuclear, and pretty much managed to stop research on things like that.

Reply to  John Shotsky
April 18, 2021 8:46 pm

Most of that “waste” still has 99% of it original energy producing potential.
The only reasonable thing is to work out a good procedure for using it.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  AndyHce
April 19, 2021 9:47 am

You can thank Captain Nemo (aka President Carter) for us not using it.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  John Shotsky
April 19, 2021 9:46 am

Glass is known to spontaneously de-vitrify, even under the best of storage conditions. Roman glass commonly shows surface de-vitrification. Natural glass, e.g. obsidian, turns into perlite. If the glass is being bombarded internally with high-energy particles, and being attacked externally by the ‘Universal Solvent,’ then I can’t accept the claim “The glass won’t break down.” I don’t think that the ocean is a wise choice for a repository.

Reply to  Meab
April 18, 2021 3:08 pm

How do road surveys on I-95 tell us anything about Yucca Mountain, located thousands of miles away?

Ron Long
Reply to  dfolds
April 18, 2021 6:03 pm

He meant US-95, which goes past Yucca Mountain. It connects Reno and Las Vegas.

John Thorogood
April 18, 2021 11:10 am

The giveaway is “with the excess CO2 captured and “pipeline ready” for underground storage“. Yeah, right. Neatly overlooking the cost for piping it to a disposal well, the cost of the well, associated infrastructure, permitting costs. Resulting cost of electricity being what x present price?

Reply to  John Thorogood
April 18, 2021 11:31 am

It looks to me like they are locating plants where pipelines and other necessary infrastructure exist.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Scissor
April 18, 2021 1:04 pm

CO2, “acid gas”, inject into depleted conventional wells, majority of the oil still down there, CO2 acts as a lubricant

We do this in alberta

The oil field requires electricity too

Using captured CO2 to free more oil

Sure to cause hair lit on fire

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
April 18, 2021 1:33 pm

It might make sense in conjunction with a gas plant too. Convert the methane to power and send C2 and C3 to Ft. Saskatchewan for olefins and polyolefins.

oeman 50
Reply to  Scissor
April 19, 2021 12:49 pm

There is a lot of existing CO2 pipeline in the Texas/Louisiana area.

April 18, 2021 11:14 am

Any info available on the thermodynamic efficiency, construction cost and operating cost of the scheme, including O2 production?

Reply to  DHR
April 18, 2021 11:33 am

Besides wiki, this link has some details you’re looking for:

Paul C
April 18, 2021 12:06 pm

From the bloomberg article – overall efficiency of the system matches that of an advanced natural-gas power plant ; will have access to a U.S. tax credit that amounts to about $50 for each ton of CO₂ injected into the ground ; Each of the power plants is capable of generating 280 MW …. expected to cost more than $500 million.
This cost appears comparable to CCGT, so they should not require subsidy if their claims are actually true. If they are lying, then they should not get subsidy either.

Reply to  Paul C
April 18, 2021 12:20 pm

$50 per ton of CO2 sounds nice for them. They can probably get a premium for the electricity also.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
April 18, 2021 12:26 pm

Interesting. They appear to have found a way to get carbon credits and subsidies for a fossil fuel plant. Even some work underway adapting this cycle to coal, sitting behind current coal gasification technology. I can hear the outraged wails coming from the wind/solar interests already.

The demonstration plant is 50 MWt / 25 MWe. Claimed thermal efficiency of 55 – 58%. Also claimed ramp-up rates of 2-5%/minute.

The CO2 separation costs are much lower because the combustion CO2 is recycled into the working fluid, resulting in a high concentration, high-pressure CO2 stream that mostly just needs water vapor removed.

Could be interesting, assuming you site these near where the CO2 can be sold for tertiary recovery or otherwise economically sequestered. Little or no water needed for cooling; another plus.

The most interesting part about this technology is watching how the Carbon Cult high priests will react. If they want zero emissions, this appears to offer that. But it also doesn’t require restructuring the world’s economy along the lines of the Green Leap Forward, so maybe they will vilify it.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
April 18, 2021 12:47 pm

It seems like I’m seeing it the way you are. The key challenge for them may be more to do with managing perceptions than managing technology. In that respect, partnering with an Indian Tribe is genius.

April 18, 2021 12:33 pm

What a pile of SH1T greenwash! There is a completely CO2 free gas well a half a mile from my house. It’s the CO2 that results from heating your house with that natural gas that the Climate contingent want stopped. They aren’t stupid enough to believe that making your natural gas facility CO2 free is meeting their objectives, but they are smart enough to know that making producers spend money on CO2 scrubbers might put them out of business or less economic compared to electric heat, which they think grows on windmills.

The Dark Lord
April 18, 2021 2:17 pm

no initial costs listed, nor prices for kwh … my bet is startup costs are 2-3 times conventional and kwh is the same 2-3 times conventional … regular atmosphere minus o2 is what they in the industry call “toxic” … there is no such thing as “excess” CO2 … the planet needs every bit of it to grow …

April 18, 2021 2:17 pm

The real innovation here is the term “pipeline ready”. It should apply to everything.

April 18, 2021 2:21 pm

“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.”

And precisely where I wonder is that underground storage reservoir located? Let me make a guess, there is a ready market in Texas for pure carbon dioxide gas. It is used in the oil industry for enhanced tertiary recovery of oil from depleted oilfields.
Nice business model, really nice.

April 18, 2021 3:04 pm

Wonder how much cost it’ll add to an electric bill.

Overall, if this works, doesn’t add too much to our bills, AND shuts up the left, I think it may be a good thing, I’d probably support it.

But I agree with scissor, the left isn’t going to like this idea.

And for the record, I am not a skeptic to protect the fossil fuel industry, I am a skeptic because I think wind and solar aren’t good alternative sources of energy. Come up with a viable energy source alternative that can work 24/7/365 and doesn’t result in high energy costs, then yes, lets phase out fossil fuels.

The Dark Lord
April 18, 2021 3:05 pm

ok the use of Supercritical Co2 in the gas turbine to increase efficiency is interesting …

but the volume of pure O2 they need to produce is huge and needs to be in real-time… i.e. they can’t generate O2 for 20 hours to run the plant for 4 hours … (they could but would be a waste of time)
the sheer volume of O2 they have to produce every minute would appear to be staggering … basically 1/5 the volume of air a normal plant would ingest per minute … the “air separation unit” would have to handle the same amount of air that a gas turbine would ingest … and O2 as a liquid or gas is very interesting to move i.e. dangerous and tricky …

my thinking is the energy losses to make the O2 in their “test” is less than the efficiency gains they claim to see in the turbine … but I’d bet they are making O2 in the most energy-efficient process they can find … and I doubt its per minute output is nowhere near the required output to actually run the power plant 24/7 (they store it up in the test) …

the elimination of NO from the exhaust is very cool … NO is nasty stuff … so from a clean burn perspective, it has merit …

they still need to find a place for their CO2 and that costs money … (they only need a small amount of the supercritical CO2 in the turbine as it basically gets reused) … and the energy costs to cool the exhaust to separate the water from the CO2 and then the energy costs to recompress and heat the CO2 back to supercritical would also be another energy cost …

the devil will certainly be in the details … (my bet is the O2 air separator will never be able to generate the per minute volume without a HUGE energy cost) …

still could be a sellable product to a crazed green energy politico …

Last edited 19 days ago by The Dark Lord
April 18, 2021 4:26 pm

Yeah! That’s the ticket! Make the CO2 some other contractor’s problem!

Eric Stevens
April 18, 2021 5:21 pm

I find it difficult to see what this process achieves. It generates power from burning natural gas, but so what? A lot of plants do that. But then it reclaims the CO2 for capture and storage. That needs an additional plant. But even more it needs an oxygen plant to supply the process. That’s three plants, only one of which generates power while the other two consume it. Is anyone prepared to bet that the overall thermal efficiency will not be very low?

David Dibbell
April 18, 2021 5:36 pm

Now, if only “decarbonizing the power sector” would make a detectable difference in the climate. Oh, wait! Why in the world would we want a different climate from what we have, give or take a bit?

Charles Higley
April 18, 2021 5:43 pm

It would be useful to see the energy cots of the oxygen gathering and the CO2 sequestration. How much of the normal power output will not be missing?

And underground storage of CO2 is also expensive and how large is their underground storage. Likely the storage is elsewhere which means pipes, etc. or shipping, etc.

April 19, 2021 12:07 am

Can someone explain why this is a big deal.

Back about 1980′ I was measuring exhaust emissions of motor vehicles in a laboratory in Sydney as part of a major study. I remember we tested a Japanese taxi that ran on natural gas and had catalytic converters to clean up the exhaust. The CO, HC, and NOX emissions were at or below background levels i.e. it actually cleaned up any hydrocarbons in the atmosphere. CO2 and H2O were the only emissions.

If they could do that 40 years ago using air, not pure oxygen, why can’t we do even better in 2021? Is this all about getting headlines and getting more government subsidies for rather pointless R&D?

Reply to  CRISP
April 19, 2021 12:11 am

They have not really decarbonised the economy at all, just cleaned up the HC emissions (which is no big deal). They still have to sequester the CO2, which is “pipeline ready”. Well, so is the CO2 from every other fossil fuel plant.
The closer you read this article, the more you realise it is utter bollocks.

MM from Canada
April 19, 2021 1:22 am

“…with the excess CO2 captured and “pipeline ready” for underground storage.”

And what if there is a leak?

In August 1986, an eruption of a billion cubic yards of carbon dioxide gas from Lake Nyos (a crater lake) in Cameroon killed an estimated 1700 people and thousands of cattle. Two years before, 37 people living near Lake Monoun (another crater lake) had also died suddenly, but the incident was covered up by the government. There was no electricity or telephone service in the area, so the incident was not widely known.

CO2 is colourless, odorless, and heavier than air. It travels low to the ground until it disperses. You wouldn’t even know it was there – you would just die.

oeman 50
Reply to  MM from Canada
April 19, 2021 12:59 pm

This story keeps popping up, it has been mentioned a number of times on this site. CO2 leaking from a pipeline is at a high pressure. Do you know how they look for leaks? They fly along the route and look for dry ice formation. Due to the Joule-Thompson effect, pressurized CO2 leaking into the atmosphere rapidly cools and forms dry ice.

David Stone CEng
April 19, 2021 4:15 am

This is nuts! Producing oxygen from the atmosphere uses a large amount of electricity to liquefy the air and then fractionally distill it! That is why oxygen is quite expensive too, for welding or whatever. Local steelworks near me used to do oxygen steelmaking and the oxygen plant there used 50MW! This must be a wind-up, or “green” froth, or something similar. To burn 1kg of methane (natural gas) would need roughly 4kg of oxygen (simple chemistry), which would cost several times as much as the gas. Perhaps they have found a way to get the carbon out of CO2 which uses less energy than burning methane? That is energetically impossible.

April 19, 2021 6:23 am

The process is a bit more thermally efficient than gas gen.+carbon capture, but can pretty much guarantee to capture 100% of CO2 produced.

From what I’ve seen elsewhere a nominal 300MW plant only has about 170MW available for use, the rest drives the ASU (55MW for oxygen) and the rest provides power for compressors. The same source says said 300MW plant produces 2400Mt CO2 per day.

Of course it is not CO2 free, the CO2 still has to be stored somewhere. It’s only CO2 free in the same way that a Coal plant with a carbon capture plant tacked on is CO2 free. Well done, all compressed and pipeline ready, now where do you stick the end of the pipe!

April 19, 2021 6:44 am

WUWT got this one right. Whether you believe that AGW is real and real bad, or don’t, this is a the beginning of a Trumpian YUGE corporate welfare Queening. The $50/ton tax trickle up could be used almost any other way for better outcomes.

I blame my guys for this. Why is the government picking winning and losing carbon reduction technologies? If you don’t think that atmospheric [CO2] reduction is a good idea, then you and I don’t want your tax $ misspent on this. If you do think that atmospheric [CO2] reduction is a good idea – like me – then you and I STILL don’t want your tax $ misspent on this.

We should instead be fighting about the imposition of a sufficiently large carbon tax, equitably, regularly rebated to every US citizen, after paying out the carbon sequestered by projects not dependent on winner picking front end loaded tax schemes. Sequestration can then compete with use reduction to get where we want to go. Since the lowest quintile in western Europe lives longer than ours, is healthier than ours, and has more economic opportunity than ours, in spite of higher gas prices, please spare me the selective crocodile tears for US drivers. Put another way, since our /capita US total carbon footprint is highly income dependent, most po’ folks would make out from an equitable US carbon tax.

Last edited 18 days ago by bigoilbob
April 19, 2021 7:29 am

But what happens to all of the children if these monstrosities use up all of the oxygen?! Especially the vegan children because it sounds like there will be no more carbon dioxide for the plants! Those poor kids will starve while not being able to breathe. Oh no and oh my.

April 19, 2021 8:23 am

I suspect it won’t be “good enough” for many – it still uses NG which is evil.

Steve Z
April 19, 2021 8:51 am

There’s no doubt that burning natural gas with pure oxygen instead of air results in a gain in efficiency, due to avoiding the sensible heat required to heat up 78%+ of nitrogen in the air.

But there is the problem of separating oxygen from nitrogen in the air, which can be done using membranes or pressure-swing adsorption, but both processes require compression, which would consume some of the extra power generated.

The heat of combustion of methane (the major component of natural gas) generates about 50 MJ of heat per kg burned, so that a 250 MW turbine (at 100% efficiency) would burn 5 kg/s of methane, which consumes about 20 kg/s of pure oxygen, or about 7 m3/s at atmospheric pressure. This would require the separation of air at a rate of about 35 m3/s, or 126,000 m3/hr. Has anyone ever built an air separator at that rate?

Conventional natural-gas turbines (which burn natural gas in air) typically use a front-end compressor (which is driven by the turbine shaft) to compress cold air, which is then burned with natural gas, and the expanding hot gases drive the turbine. The turbine blades are built to withstand the temperatures produced by natural gas combustion in air, in which nitrogen absorbs about 80% of the heat produced.

If natural gas is burned in pure oxygen, the resulting combustion gases would be 2/3 H2O and 1/3 CO2, and would be much hotter than those from burning natural gas in air. What would be the cost of making turbine blades out of exotic materials that can resist temperatures of 1500 C or higher and the stresses of gas pressure against the blades?

If the hot, low-pressure gases from the turbine are used to generate steam (and more power), then the CO2 would have to be separated from the water vapor, which should be fairly easy using coolers after stages of compression to condense liquid water. Burning natural gas always produces the same amount of CO2, whether it is burned in air or pure oxygen. There would still be the power consumed by the compression of CO2, plus the power required to run the air separator, which would be subtracted from the power generated by the gas and steam turbines.

The only net advantage to using pure oxygen instead of air is that none of the energy generated is used to heat up nitrogen. This has to be balanced against the power requirement and cost of the air separator, and the necessity of more expensive turbine blades and other equipment downstream of the combustion chamber.

When I clicked on the link for “Full article here”, it only led to a tweet on Twitter, not exactly a “full article”. It would be interesting to see an energy balance and a cost analysis for this process.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Steve Z
April 19, 2021 9:56 am

using membranes

Which requires energy to process the raw materials, fabricate the filters, and replace them periodically.

Clyde Spencer
April 19, 2021 9:17 am

Once again, the proposed solution results in a reduced net efficiency, and they don’t bother to mention that the end-user will have to pay for making the oxygen, unless they can get someone to pay for the CO2, to cover the cost of the O2.

Freed Serf
April 19, 2021 11:31 am

Made possible by the nearby oilfield that is purchasing the liquid CO2 for injection into the secondary oil recovery CO2 flooding that is being conducted to produce more oil from this old field. And, of course, the taxpayer’s subsidy money.
This area has high energy demand, anybody ever heard of the concept of air conditioning in Houston, and high volume secondary oil recovery projects that are are good fit for miscible CO2 flooding. A very, very unique set of circumstances that are unlikely to be replicated outside of an oilfield.
Petroleum engineers are badass!!!!

April 19, 2021 11:32 am

I think the acid test is the creation payback time. Fossil fuels can supply the energy to create itself…the equipment to mine, transport deploy to generation site, build plant, build supply system and IN ADDITION, supply enough energy to power the surrounding society. Panels fail that test. Windmills fail that test. Only fossil fuels and nuclear generation pass that test, for now. Until the next Big Thing, we should concentrate on conservation and efficiency. PS Getting the Third World out of mind-numbing poverty that a 24/7 100 watt bulb brings to an end should be humanity’s top priority

April 19, 2021 8:14 pm

This just furthers the aim of the Progressives set to destroy the middle class. The net effect of this technology is nothing more than to triple or quadruple the cost of supplying a kwhr of electricity to the customer. It makes energy and everything else much more expensive and destroys the middle class. Likely half of the energy output goes into the oxygen system and the CO2 capture and storage. Then add in the much higher maintenance and equipment costs. Cheap and abundant energy is done.

April 19, 2021 8:20 pm

There is another problem… they will have burn double the amount of gas to provide the same amount of electricity to the consumer. Half of what they burn goes into the O2/CO2 system.

April 20, 2021 6:02 am

This is a very good technology under the circumstances, in my opinion. If the comparison is with coal, then no, you can’t do better than coal for price and 24/365 consistency of output.
But the western world is not going back to coal as its primary source of electricity, let alone total energy. That ship has sailed.
The Allam cycle technology has the potential, once first base has been reached in terms of economies of scale, to match or even improve upon wind on a LCOE basis. Once you factor in the improvement on system costs overall due to the absence of intermittency, it ticks all the boxes.
As another commenter here has observed, the left won’t like it one little bit. And why would that be? Because it would shine a very bright searchlight on their real motives behind their enthusiasm for promoting their climate malarkey.
For that reason alone, I fully support this initiative (not that my support’s worth a bean, but a few million beans might make a difference in pushing back against Big Green and the WEF/Davos crowd).

Mickey Reno
April 20, 2021 9:03 am

Of course, the CO2 emitted in the process of concentrating O2 for the combustion phase is completely ignored, as is the risks of accidental release of their “pipeline ready” concentrated, pressurized CO2. Lake Nyos, anyone? Beuhler?

Pressurizing and storing CO2 in huge underground formations is beyond stupid.

April 20, 2021 12:55 pm

So capital and high energy costs to produce a ton of oxygen. And you still have “pipeline ready” CO2 to dispose of. Which will go where? Likely this was funded by DoE and they’ll vent the CO2. Meanwhile customers will pay higher bills to fund the O2 plant. Stupid.

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