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Capturing Carbon For A Cleaner Planet


Homer City Generating Station in Homer City, Pa. (May 2014)

A coal-fired power plant in Texas is on its way to capturing 1.4 million tons of carbon dioxide, or CO2 that previously would have been released into the air.

A coal-fired power plant in Texas is on its way to capturing 1.4 million tons of carbon dioxide, or CO2 that previously would have been released into the air.

Rather than building an entirely new facility, the Petra Novo project will apply carbon capture technology to an existing coal-fired power plant -- helping to advance the technologies that help enable cleaner energy production from fossil energy resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Houston-area project, which broke ground September 5th, was awarded $167 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to capture emissions from 60 megawatts of generation.

Project sponsor NRG Energy Inc. and JX Nippon decided they could do better than that. They quadrupled the size of the project -- expanding the design to capture the emissions from 240 megawatts of generation -- with no additional federal funding.

When completed, the project has the potential tocapture the same amount of CO2 each year as taking 250,000 cars off the road.

Using a process previously tested in a three-year pilot scale test in Alabama, the project will capture up to 90 percent of CO2 from the power plant. The captured carbon dioxide will then be compressed, dried and transported to an oil field where it will be used to recover previously unreachable oil -- a process known as Enhanced Oil Recovery or EOR.

Petra Nova is one of many promising carbon capture and use projects supported by the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy that aim to find ways to make American energy from all sources cleaner.

For over 25 years, The National Energy Technology Laboratory an energy research laboratory owned and operated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, has been co-funding major demonstrations of clean coal technologies to hasten their adoption into the commercial marketplace. The federal government's financial support helps reduce the risks inherent in these first-of-a-kind projects.

Carbon capture is just one piece of President Obama’s plan to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change. Boosting renewable energy production, advancing energy efficiency, improving the fuel efficiency of our cars and making our buildings more energy efficient are also important steps the Administration is taking.

As both demand for energy and the urgency to address climate change continues to increase, the United States is working with government and with private sector partners to reduce carbon dioxide emissions for a cleaner environment.

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