Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman (sixth from left) joins in the groundbreaking of the world's largest post-combustion carbon capture facility | Photo courtesy of the Energy Department.

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

Rather than building an entirely new facility, the Petra Nova project will apply carbon capture technology to an existing coal-fired power plant -- helping to advance the technologies that enable cleaner, safer and more sustainable energy production from our abundant fossil energy resources.

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

Project sponsors 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 will capture the same amount of CO2 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 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 -- and will end up stored permanently underground.

Petra Nova is one of many promising carbon capture projects supported by the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy that aim to create sustainable energy from all of our resources.

Allison Lantero
Served as Digital Content Specialist in the Office of Public Affairs.
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