New carbon capture plant could be game changer for electricity production

... In December, Allam, 76, flew from his home in the U.K. to meet Forbes at a construction site in Texas near the Houston Ship Channel, the heart of the nation's largest petrochemical complex. When completed early this year, at a cost of about $150 million, these 5 acres of steel and concrete, pipes, tanks and high-voltage lines will become the proving ground for a technology called the Allam Cycle. It's a novel electric-generation system that burns natural gas and captures all the produced carbon dioxide. The best part is that it makes electricity at the same low cost as other modern gas-fired turbines--about 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Environmentalists are hopeful. "It's not just a bridge, it's a destination," says John Thompson, who directs the carbon-capture program at the Clean Air Task Force. Renewable energy sources haven't scaled fast enough to replace fossil fuels, and zero-carbon nuclear is too expensive. "We're going to have to use fossil fuels in the future whether we like it or not," Allam says. "The challenge will be in using fossil fuels to produce electricity without emitting CO2 into the atmosphere."
... Allam's cycle doesn't use steam. Instead, the so-called working fluid that turns the turbine is carbon dioxide itself. The CO2, under pressure and heated to a manageable 1,000 degrees, is kept in a supercritical state, in which it can expand to fill its container like a gas, yet has the density of a liquid. Instead of pouring into the sky, that CO2 gets cycled in a loop, spinning the turbines that power the generators. Combustion continually adds additional CO2, while excess CO2 is directed off into a pipeline.
If this works it makes much more sense than inefficient alternative energy projects.  The "keep it in the ground left" would be hardest hit.  It would have the advantage of being able to modulate production of electricity to meet demand as it fluctuated.  That is something that wind and solar are not able to do at this time.

It would also make the regressive carbon tax unnecessary.


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