The US Department of Energy, in partnership with NRG Energy and JX Nippon, has begun construction on the first commercial-scale post-combustion carbon capture retrofit project in the US, the largest such project in the world.
Once completed, the Petra Nova Project will capture about 1.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually from an existing coal-fired power plant in Texas. The captured CO2 will then be used to extract additional, hard-to-access oil from a previously depleted field 80 miles away, safely storing the carbon underground in the process.
Originally conceived as a 60 MW capture project for which they received $167 million in support from the DOE, the project sponsors expanded the design to capture emissions from 240 MW of generation at the Houston-area power plant, quadrupling the size of the capture project without additional federal investment.
The Petra Nova Project will capture 90 percent of the CO2 using a process previously deployed in a DOE-sponsored 3-year pilot-scale test in Alabama where it successfully captured more than 150,000 metric tons of CO2 per year from a coal power plant. With this capture rate, coal-fired power generation would have a carbon footprint much lower than that of a traditional natural gas-powered plant.
A carbon capture project at a hydrogen-production facility in Port Arthur, Texas — a US Department of Energy project, in partnership with Air Products and Chemicals — has captured more than 1 million metric tons of CO2 at the facility, the DOE announced earlier this month.