Durham, N.C.- based developer NET Power LLC announced April 11 it has selected San Antonio, Texas-based Zachry Group performing front-end engineering and design as well as serve as EPC contractor for a first-of-a-kind utility-scale gas-fired power plant with near zero emissions in Texas.

The plant, estimated to cost between $750-million and $950 million, will be built on an Occidental Petroleum site in the Permian Basin near Odessa, and will remove 860,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year, which will be captured using NET Power's process and then stored underground nearby.

The utility-scale project to be built will generate 370 MW of power, with 300 MW going to the grid and 70 MW used to run the plant’s air separator unit.

FEED work is set to be completed next year with EPC to begin immediately after, said NET Power. The project is expected to come online in 2026.

“Zachry has a track record of building first-of-a-kind facilities in the power sector, said Brian Allen, NET Power president and COO. Its work will establish the standard for future NET Power plants, he said.

The company’s oxy-combustion supercritical CO2 power cycle was successfully proven at its demonstration plant in La Porte, Texas—a 50-MW pilot completed by contractor McDermott International and successfully synchronized with the Texas grid in 2021 after operating for more than 1,500 hours.

The technology uses the Allam-Fetvdy Cycle, which burns natural gas with oxygen instead of air and uses supercritical carbon dioxide instead of steam to drive the turbine. NET Power's standard modularized utility-scale design is expected to rapidly drive down capital costs for subsequent plants, the company said.

Baker Hughes will develop supercritical CO2 turboexpanders and other critical pumping and compression technology needed for NET Power’s plants. 

NET Power’s technology was ranked by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as one of its 10 breakthrough technologies.

Scaling Up Investment

Occidental, an early investor in the start-up company, told ENR that Net Power has the potential to transform the power industry. Other NET Power partners include Baker Hughes, Constellation Energy and 8 Rivers Capital. 

NET Power also said it is pursuing government support available at the federal, state, and local level, with special focus on incentives in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and last year's Inflation Reduction Act, particularly the 45Q carbon capture tax credit available to capturing facilities. 

"To qualify for these credits, electric generation units must be designed to capture at least 75% of carbon dioxide emissions, a number which NET Power facilities easily exceed,” the firm said.

Rice Acquisitions, a special purpose acquisition company, in December entered into a joint development agreement to accelerate the project's deployment. It is investing $100 million in NET Power, which is set to become a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange valued at $1.46 billion in the second quarter. 

Danny Rice, leader of energy investor Rice Group, will become NET Power CEO as part of the deal, succeeding Ron DeGregorio.

DeGregorio was named a 2022 ENR Newsmaker for leading the development of the NET Power technology.