Tuesday, January 10, 2017

First large-scale 'clean coal' plant in U.S. is operational; different type to be started up Jan. 31

Petra Nova project (Energywire photo by Edward Klump)
The first large-scale "clean coal" plant in the U.S. was declared operational on Tuesday, Chris Mooney reports for The Washington Post. The Petra Nova project by NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp., is near Houston. "The companies say that the plant can capture over 90 percent of the carbon dioxide released from the equivalent of a 240-megawatt ... coal unit, which translates into 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide per day or over 1 million tons per year. They’re calling it 'the world’s largest post-combustion carbon capture system (CCS).'”

Another clean-coal plant, operated by Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co., was supposed to be the first commercial clean-coal facility, but delays have put the project several years and billions of dollars behind schedule. It is now set to be operational on Jan. 31, Mooney reports. The "plant has been designed to turn lignite, a type of coal, into a gas called syngas, stripping out some carbon dioxide in the process. The syngas is burned for electricity and the CO2 is ... shipped to an oil field to aid in additional oil recovery."

Christa Marshall and Edward Klump report for Energywire, "Analysts say the plants are starkly different, considering that one involves a retrofit of a plant that captures CO2 after burning coal and the other involves gasifying coal and pre-combustion capture. Along with building a gasification plant from scratch, Kemper is testing its new Transport Integrated Gasification technology to turn coal into synthetic gas for the first time."

President-elect Donald Trump "hasn't specified in detail whether he supports CCS incentives," reports Energywire. "The leading proposal in Congress to boost CCS is expanding an existing tax credit for carbon storage called Section 45Q. It remains unclear, though, how much an expansion would help prompt new projects by itself, particularly on power plants."

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