The new gas revolution that could make renewable energy obsolete 

Posted: August 1, 2019 by oldbrew in Emissions, Energy, innovation
Tags: , , ,

H/T The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

Well, possibly but it involves carbon capture. The costs and practicality have to be demonstrated first, and that tends to undermine most of such claims. Worth a try though.

If the Net Zero power plant performs as expected this is a real game changer for natural gas, says Forbes.

Since the United States is sitting on more natural gas than any country in the world, and it’s getting cheaper to get it out of the ground, this is no small game to change.

An actual game changing technology is being demonstrated as we sit in our air-conditioned abodes reading this. And it is being demonstrated by North Carolina–based Net Power at a new plant in La Porte, Texas.

The process involves burning fossil fuel with oxygen instead of air to generate electricity without emitting any carbon dioxide (CO2). Not using air also avoids generating NOx, the main atmospheric and health contaminant emitted from gas plants.

Included in a group of technologies known as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), zero-emission fossil fuel plants have been a dream never realized in practice, as it always seems to cost a lot, adding between 5¢ and 10¢ per kWh. This is probably because most attempts just add on another step after the traditional electricity generation steps, almost as an afterthought.

Some fossil fuel plants have tried, and failed, the most famous one recently being the $7.5 billion coal power plant in Kemper, Mississippi.

But this new technology completely changes the steps and the approach from the ground up. It is based on the Allam Cycle, a new, high-pressure, oxy-fuel, supercritical CO2 cycle that generates low-cost electricity from fossil fuels while producing near-zero air emissions.

All CO2 that is generated by the cycle is produced as a high-pressure, pipeline-ready by-product for use in enhanced oil recovery and industrial processes, or that can be sequestered underground in tight geologic formations where it will not get out to the atmosphere for millions of years.

The Allam Cycle also means the power plant is a lot smaller and can be sited in more areas than older plants can.

Full article here.

  1. Phoenix44 says:

    As a curiosity, how much of the increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is due to more CO2 and how much is due to less O2?It feels like half?

  2. Dave Ward says:

    And how much power does the “Air Separation Unit” require? As far as I’m aware this is normally a cryogenic process, and will need (very) substantial compressors to produce the volumes of oxygen needed.

  3. Graeme No.3 says:

    Assuming all the increase in CO2 is due to combustion and not any release from warming oceans, by simple calculation the oxygen level would have decreased by 0.03% or the oxygen at sea level would have dropped from 20.95 to 20.92%.
    Against that the level of oxygen at 1,000 feet altitude is given as 20.1%. SO keep both feet on the ground, don’t climb mountains and ABOVE ALL DO NOT take aeroplane flights anywhere at all.

  4. edhoskins says:

    This is interesting particularly if you think that man-made atmospheric CO2 is a dangerous pollutant.

    Otherwise this technology is just another expensive way of hiding from use relatively small amounts of growth enhancing plant food.

    One must also ask if the air separation and cooling processes are energy intensive.

  5. Graeme No.3 says:

    On a more serious note this seems to be a Drayton cycle using high pressure CO2 as the working fluid with the addition of costly generation of oxygen and the expense of carbon dioxide segregation.
    The Drayton cycle might well reach 59% efficiency (compared with air burning, non CO2 segregating, Closed Cycle Gas Turbine at 62% efficiency) so the extra expense of oxygen generation instead of using air, and then that of burying CO2 FOR EVER, might not appeal to cost accountants and, more importantly, to those putting up the money for the necessary project (politicians and public bureaucrats excepted as they don’t worry about efficiency).

  6. oldbrew says:

    They say…

    The Allam Cycle is a new type of power cycle that takes a novel approach to emissions reduction. It uses the oxy-combustion of carbon fuels and a high-pressure supercritical CO2 working fluid in a highly recuperated cycle that captures all emissions by design. The only by-products are liquid water and a stream of high-purity, pipeline-ready CO2. The cycle can utilize a variety of fuels, including natural gas, unprocessed raw and sour gas, and gasified solid fuels such as coal or biomass. The Allam Cycle embodies major advantages over conventional systems: attaining high efficiencies at low costs with low to no water consumption. All this with full, free emissions capture.

  7. ivan says:

    All this with full, free emissions capture TNSTAAFL!

    When something of this nature is being promoted by a person that, according to his bio, ‘For over 25 years I have been a member of Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the NRDC, the Environmental Defense Fund and many others, as well as professional societies including the America Nuclear Society, the American Chemical Society, the Geological Society of America and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists’. One can’t help wondering if what is said is the truth, the whole truth and nothing like the truth, especially if there is any government money involved.

    There are far too many costs that are unaccounted for. The cost of producing oxygen from air, the cost of cooling the hot CO2 to a temperature that can be pumped underground, the actual cost of CCS – they may have getting CO2 down to a fine art but it costs to prepare it and store it.

    In the real world all this stupid chasing after a beneficial gas that is essential to life would not happen and we would have cheap coal fired and nuclear power stations, bur the ivory tower intellectuals can’t allow cheap power to the people because it doesn’t fit their Marxist world view.

  8. dscott says:

    The real issue here is IF an existing gas turbine can be retrofitted to be fed pure O2 and natural gas, would it overheat or could this better a good and cost effective means to produce electricity without the rest of the CO2 sequestration attempts. I’m only interested in increasing the existing efficiency, so would pure O2 actually make sense.

  9. willybamboo says:

    How much does it cost to get that much oxygen on hand ready to combust?

  10. oldbrew says:

    Hydrogen from electrolysis leaves behind oxygen – but of course you need electricity to do that.

  11. Kip Hansen says:

    The cautionary note is included in the article: “Some fossil fuel plants have tried, and failed, the most famous one recently being the $7.5 billion coal power plant in Kemper, Mississippi.” Hopefully, this process will be proven workable, or not, BEFORE someone spends another 7.5 BILLION DOLLARS.

    Although the GWPF mentions a demonstration plant, it fails to mention if the process is actually proving successful and economical at the demonstration plant.

    Rather than the usual “Popular Science Magazine” approach — cheer-leading as-yet-unproven pie-in-the-sky ideas — I’d like to see real results data from the demo plant — which, to me, seems to have been intentionally omitted from the GWPF piece.

  12. oldbrew says:

    Forbes says:
    ‘Federal tax credits for carbon-capture projects are helping get this demonstration off the ground, providing a $50 tax credit for every ton of carbon sequestered. The NET Power plant captures all of its CO2 as part of its process, recycles some and diverts some for sale.’

    The system first fired up over a year ago. The 8rivers website just says ‘The Allam Cycle is in an advanced stage of demonstration and development.’

  13. ivan says:

    I think they should have said ‘Federal tax credits for carbon-capture projects are helpingthe only way get this demonstration off the ground,

    Advanced stage of demonstration and development = being funded by US tax payers.

    CCS will never be a viable operation.

  14. stpaulchuck says:

    like others here, I am skeptical of the quoted costs. I’d love to see the end-to-end costs and compare to a combined cycle plant.

    IF (and that’s a big if) it works out then great. My quibble is the sequestration of the ‘excess’ CO2.

  15. Gamecock says:

    ‘sequestered underground in tight geologic formations where it will not get out to the atmosphere for millions of years’

    Unicorn burrows.

    Electricity is generated where people need it. There may not be any unicorn burrows near by. Hence the massive volume of CO2 would have to be transported to Neverland.

  16. Graeme No.3 says:

    Perhaps they could use the excess CO2 for oil recovery? The water recovery must mean that the excess CO2 is cooled well below 100℃, how? More water?.
    Alternately they could just use the Drayton part of the cycle and use gas (or coal) to generate the heat in a “boiler”. Just vent the CO2 to atmosphere and avoid the costs of oxygen and CO2 sequestration. If they could boost the efficiency of a coal fired plant to 56% then CO2 emissions would drop anyway.

    Personally I would be interested to know what metals are used to contain the CO2 at 1150℃. Platinum?

  17. cognog2 says:

    I expect Modular Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors would knock the socks off this Allam Cycle for cost and efficiency.

  18. Jim says:

    Like usual, this is a plan to fleece the public by a well trained monkey. To burn something, like methane, in anything, creates co2. It’s a natural chemical reaction. Then you run it thru a catalytic converter, to create other stuff. That’s been known since alchemy, nothing new. Add the cool of cryogenic science, a few flashing lights, and a puff of smoke, and you have ” the wizard of Oz”. Just repackaged, close looping the circuit, is a waster of electricity. And, should never produce enough to create a self sustainable cycle. Kind of like the cool fusion energy cycle.
    But, as part of a power supply, on a satellite, that is rotating? That’s a different story. One could use the temperature extremes to run a generator, or a closed turbine system. I sounded if that’s is their endpoint.

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