On a small lot between Houston and the Gulf Coast, in an industrial zone packed with petrochemical factories and gas pipelines, a little-known company is finalizing construction of a demonstration power plant that could represent a genuine energy breakthrough.
If it works as expected, Net Power’s $140 million, 50-megawatt natural gas plant will capture effectively all of the carbon dioxide it produces, without significantly higher costs, in part by relying on the greenhouse gas itself to crank the turbine that generates electricity. The technology could enable a new generation of plants that provide clean power, without the development risks of nuclear (see “Meltdown of Toshiba’s Nuclear Business Dooms New Construction in the U.S.”), the geographic restrictions of hydroelectric, or the intermittency issues of solar and wind. Crucially, future plants of this type could also rely on the nation’s abundant supply of cheap natural gas.
“If it plays out as advertised, it could …
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