Fossil power, guilt free

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Science  26 May 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6340, pp. 796-799
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6340.796

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Later this year, an energy startup called NET Power plans to fire up a new natural gas–powered electricity generating station near Houston, Texas, that could usher in a new era for fossil fuel power plants. The plant is testing a first of its kind zero emissions technology that burns natural gas in pure oxygen to produces a stream of near pure carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be pumped underground, preventing it from entering the atmosphere and affecting the climate. The new plant also turns CO2 into an ally, using it to drive a turbine in a manner that makes it more efficient than conventional steam-driven turbines. The new facility is expected to produce power at roughly the same cost as conventional natural gas plants. If successful, the new approach could revolutionize the field of carbon capture and storage and help countries limit carbon emissions while still producing the electricity society demands.