California commission evaluates CO2 capture for gas-fired power plants

California Energy Commission staff will conduct an April 16 workshop at the commission offices in Sacramento to discuss the research opportunities for carbon capture with emerging technologies on natural gas power plants.

Natural gas power plants are California’s largest category of point source emissions of CO2 and the dispatchable backbone of the electric grid, the commission said in an April 6 notice about the workshop. Technologies particularly suited for California applications will use little or no water, perform effectively on hot summer days, impose minimal plant derates, accommodate load-following dispatch, use non-toxic materials, and be competitive in a cap-and-trade market.

An engineering-economic assessment of carbon dioxide capture, transportation, and storage for California natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants was performed by CB&I (formerly Shaw Power Group and Stone & Webster) and published by the Energy Commission in December 2014. The purpose of this report was to survey the landscape of CO2 capture technology developments and to estimate the cost and performance impacts of applying carbon capture and storage (CCS) at California NGCC power plants with dry cooling.

The April 16 workshop will start with a summary and discussion on the findings of the CB&I report. A brief discussion of CO2 transportation by pipeline and saline formation injection and storage may take place during the discussion of the CB&I report because this was an element of this research. After this discussion, the workshop will focus on emerging CO2 capture technologies that have advanced in their development status since CB&I’s technology survey was done in 2012.

To wrap up the workshop, Energy Commission staff will host a discussion of potential research initiatives to advance carbon capture for California NGCC power plants. The Energy Commission intends to release a competitive solicitation in the fall of 2015 to assess emerging CO2 capture technologies suited to California natural gas plants, which could potentially lead to a small-scale demonstration project. This workshop will assist staff in developing the scope of work for this upcoming solicitation.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.