The world’s biggest project to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power generation is up and running in the US.

US electricity company NRG Energy, Inc. and Japanese JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation have completed the construction of Petra Nova, the world’s largest post-combustion carbon capture system, on time and on budget.

The system can capture more than 90% of CO2 from a 240 MW equivalent slipstream of flue gas off an existing coal-fuelled electrical generating unit in Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston.

At this level of operation, Petra Nova can capture more than 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per day – the equivalent of taking more than 350,000 cars off the road.

Mauricio Gutierrez, President and CEO of NRG, said that this project is an important milestone in the quest to help ensure reliable, affordable and increasingly cleaner energy from fossil fuels.

”[This project] will be a major step forward in helping to decrease carbon dioxide emissions globally”

Shunsaku Miyake, President and CEO of JX Nippon

Petra Nova first captured CO2 on 19th September 2016 and has since delivered more than 100,000 tonnes of captured CO2 to the West Ranch field in Jackson County through an 80-mile pipeline. 

The facility officially turned over for operations on 29th December 2016.

Hilcorp Energy Company, the operator of the West Ranch oilfield, will use the captured CO2 to boost production at the oilfield. Oil production from the field is expected to increase from around 300 barrels per day before beginning enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations to 15,000 barrels per day using the captured CO2.

Shunsaku Miyake, President and CEO of JX Nippon, reinforced, “We believe this project will contribute to significantly increasing incremental crude oil production from legacy oil fields and also will be a major step forward in helping to decrease CO2 emissions globally.”

Petra Nova is a 50-50 joint venture by NRG and JX Nippon. The facility uses the KM-CDR Process®, jointly developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., and employs a proprietary KS-1 high-performance solvent for the CO2 absorption and desorption.