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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7 min read
A yellow key shape breaking through boxes and lines
Getty Images

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Barbed wire in the foreground frames a power plant in the distance across a wide river.

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Dmytro Smolyenko/Ukrinform/Future Publishing/Getty Images

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White paper on fuel cell modeling and simulation

1 min read
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Comsol

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