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This Power Plant Runs on CO2

Carbon capture costs nothing in NET Power’s new plant, which uses supercritical carbon dioxide to drive a turbine

10 min read
Photo: Michael Thad Carter/The Forbes Collection/Contour by Getty Images
CO2 Cycler: Rodney Allam (above) invented a natural-gas-burning power plant that captures its own carbon dioxide at practically no cost.
Photo: Michael Thad Carter/The Forbes Collection/Contour by Getty Images

A fire breaks out in your office’s server suite. You grab an extinguisher, aim its nozzle at the blaze, and hit it with a cloud of carbon dioxide. Out goes the fire.

Flames die when doused in CO2. And yet under just the right conditions, CO2 can also sustain combustion. That counterintuitive fact is at the heart of a new power plant being built in the Houston industrial suburb of LaPorte. The natural-gas-fired plant’s novel design, from Durham, N.C.–based NET Power, uses a fuel mix that is 95 percent carbon dioxide at the point of combustion. What’s more, it captures and sequesters carbon dioxide at virtually no additional cost. According to NET Power’s calculations, once the company scales up and rolls out the technology commercially, its plants should cost no more to construct and operate than a traditional natural-gas plant, which simply vents its exhaust into the atmosphere.

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The EV Transition Explained: Charger Infrastructure

How many, where, and who pays?

7 min read
Illuminated electric vehicle charging stations at night in Monterey Park, California.

Electric vehicle charging stations in Monterey Park, California.

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

The ability to conveniently charge an EV away from home is a top concern for many EV owners. A 2022 survey of EV owners by Forbes indicates that 62 percent of respondents are so anxious about their EV range that travel plans have been affected. While “range anxiety” may be overblown, the need for an extensive and reliable external charging infrastructure is not.

Infrastructure terminology can itself be confusing. For clarity, bear in mind that a charging station is a specific physical location which has one or more charging posts. A charging post itself may have one or more ports, where each port can charge a single EV. Each post may have multiple types of service connectors to support different EV charging connector standards. And a port may supply varying power levels.

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Video Friday: Humanoid Soccer

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Humans and human-size humanoid robots stand together on an indoor soccer field at the beginning of a game

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Designing Fuel Cell Systems Using System-Level Design

Modeling and simulation in Simulink and Simscape

1 min read
Designing Fuel Cell Systems Using System-Level Design

Design and simulate a fuel cell system for electric mobility. See by example how Simulink® and Simscape™ support multidomain physical modeling and simulation of fuel cell systems including thermal, gas, and liquid systems. Learn how to select levels of modeling fidelities to meet your needs at different development stages.