This is an energy revolution.
Despite growing urgency to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from power plants, producing cleaner power that remains low cost, reliable and easy to integrate into the grid has proven difficult. Traditional fossil fuel systems – such as natural gas combined cycle, integrated combined cycle, and supercritical coal – are reaching both theoretical and practical efficiency limits, and “add-on” environmental control systems – such as post-combustion carbon capture equipment – are expensive and energy intensive.
NET Power invented and is commercializing a novel power system that produces electricity from natural gas that is cost competitive with current technologies and generates zero atmospheric emissions – eliminating the smokestack altogether. This system is based on a new thermodynamic cycle, the Allam Cycle, named for its lead inventor, Rodney Allam.
The majority of power plants today – including combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) and supercritical coal plants – rely on thermal power cycles for energy production. These systems operate by combusting ambient air with a fossil fuel (natural gas, coal, or coal “syngas”) to create heat. In traditional coal plants, this takes place in a large boiler, which boils water to create steam. This expansion from water to steam causes a turbine to turn, creating power. In CCGT power plants, natural gas or coal syngas are ignited in a combustor, where they “explode” and drive a turbine. The turbine exhaust is extremely hot, so it is then used to boil water and drive a second set of turbines (hence the name “combined cycle”). In both cases, steam-based working fluids are essential to the process.
A power system’s efficiency is key to its economic competitiveness. NET Power natural gas plants are directly competitive with the best-in-class natural gas combined cycle plants, which have been optimized for decades and are reaching their practical and theoretical efficiency limitations. In all cases, NET Power plant efficiencies include full emissions capture and are being compared to current technologies that do not have carbon capture. (All efficiencies are LHV.)
NET Power produces a high-pressure, high-quality CO2 byproduct that is pipeline-ready. This CO2 can be sequestered or used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), a decades-old process that uses carbon dioxide to extract significantly more oil from mature oilfields while permanently storing CO2 underground. In the United States alone, 85 billion barrels of oil are recoverable using EOR. Most industrial CO2 capture technologies cannot produce cost-effective, EOR-ready CO2, despite the fact that the industry is tremendously CO2-starved. NET Power will have both the capacity and economics to enable the EOR industry to unlock this vast resource while simultaneously sequestering carbon dioxide from thousands of power plants below ground.