NET Power LLC’s supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) demonstration plant and test facility near Houston has achieved first fire, a critical milestone to validate an innovative system designed to produce electricity from natural gas while generating near-zero atmospheric emissions.

The demonstration project, begun in 2016 in La Porte, which is 25 miles east of Houston, also fired the 50 MW thermal (MWth) commercial-scale combustor by Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corp. The combustor is to be integrated with the turbine to generate power once testing is completed.

Global deployment of 300 MW electric (MWe) commercial scale plants could begin as early as 2021, according to NET Power, which is a collaboration between Exelon Generation, McDermott International Inc. and 8 Rivers Capital.

Constructed over two years, the 50 MWth (25 MWe) demonstration plant is said to be the world’s only industrial-scale supercritical CO2-based power plant and CO2-cycle test facility.
The plant is testing NET Power’s Allam Cycle technology, which the sponsors said could eliminate virtually all emissions from natural gas power generation without requiring carbon capture equipment.

In parallel with the demonstration plant tests, the Durham, NC-based company is advancing commercial-scale 300 MWe natural gas plants and is working on projects with power generation, oil and gas, and industrial companies globally.