Sixteen-foot diameter ductwork takes flue gas from the coal plant to the carbon caption facility where the CO2 is removed from the flue gas by the amine solution in the tall absorption tower and then separated from the amine as 99.9% pure CO2 in the smaller regenerator tower to the right before being compressed and delivered to the oil field. (Photo: Business Wire)
Petra Nova first captured carbon dioxide (CO2) on September 19, 2016 and has delivered more than 100,000 tons of captured CO2 to the West Ranch field through an 80-mile pipeline. Final performance acceptance testing on the facility was completed on December 29, 2016 and the facility turned over for operations. During performance testing, the system met all performance criteria including capturing more than 90% of CO2 from a 240 MW equivalent slipstream of flue gas off an existing coal-fueled electrical generating unit at the WA Parish power plant in Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston. At this level of operation, Petra Nova can capture more than 5,000 tons of CO2 per day which is the equivalent of taking more than 350,000 cars off the road.
Construction on the Petra Nova project began in 2014 with a goal to be operational by the end of 2016. With construction completed, on-budget and on-schedule, the Petra Nova carbon capture facility has achieved this goal.
Hilcorp Energy Company (Hilcorp), the operator of West Ranch oilfield, will use the captured CO2 to boost production at West Ranch oilfield, jointly owned by NRG, JX Nippon and Hilcorp. Both Hilcorp and the University Of Texas Bureau Of Economic Geology will monitor the movement of CO2 deep in the oil reservoir. Over the next few years, oil production at the field is currently estimated to increase from approximately 300 barrels per day before beginning Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) operations to production of up to 15,000 barrels per day using captured CO2.
Petra Nova is 50-50 joint venture by NRG and JX Nippon. Additionally, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) is providing up to $190 million in grants as part of the Clean Coal Power Initiative Program (CCPI), a cost-shared collaboration between the federal government and private industry. A portion of the project was financed with project loans from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Mizuho Bank, backed by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI).
Petra Nova uses the KM-CDR Process®, jointly developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and the Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., and employs a proprietary KS-1 high-performance solvent for the CO2 absorption and desorption. The carbon capture facility was constructed under a fixed-price contract by a consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Americas, Inc. (MHIA) and TIC (The Industrial Company). At peak construction, over 500 people were working on the project.
By being built on an existing coal unit, Petra Nova shows an economic path to make existing and new fossil fuel plants significantly more environmentally viable as we transition to more sustainable energy future.
In addition to Petra Nova, NRG is helping to build a lower-carbon energy future in multiple ways including a growing renewable energy portfolio, the development of fast start, flexible natural gas turbines, which are low carbon in their own right and help to integrate renewables into the grid, and coal to gas conversions and additions. NRG operates more than 7,000 megawatts of fast start natural gas and has modified more than 2,780 megawatts of older coal-fueled steam generation to use cleaner burning natural gas, reducing their carbon intensity roughly by half. These efforts are the foundation of NRG’s commitment to achieve NRG Energy’s carbon reduction goals of 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050.
NRG, JX Nippon and Hilcorp expect to host a ribbon cutting at the site in the first half of 2017.