Director's Corner

Release Date: August 15, 2017

NETL Congratulates the Petra Nova Plant for Being Named “Plant of the Year” by Power Magazine


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When the time came for the editors of the prestigious publication Power magazine to bestow its coveted 2017 “Plant of the Year” award to a power plant that leads the industry in the successful deployment of an advanced technology that maximizes efficiency while minimizing environmental impact, they choose a project that NETL helped make a reality. We couldn’t be prouder of our involvement.

The Petra Nova project is located at NRG Energy’s W.A. Parish Generating Station near Houston, TX, and is the nation’s first and the world’s largest commercial post-combustion carbon capture power plant, and it’s been described as “a globally significant environmental breakthrough and a trailblazing revenue-generating facility."  NETL was integral in providing key project management for the $1 billion project.

Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and originally conceived as a 60-megawatt electric (MWe) capture project, the project sponsors expanded the design to capture emissions from 240 MWe of generation, quadrupling the size of the capture project without additional federal investment.

During performance testing, the system demonstrated a carbon capture rate of more than 90 percent. That means it has the potential to capture more than 5,000 tons of CO2 per day, which will then be used for enhanced oil recovery at a nearby oil field. The project is expected to boost production at the oil field from 500 barrels per day to approximately 15,000 barrels per day.

According to the Power magazinestory announcing the award, Petra Nova won the Plant of the Year designation because it was brought online on time, and on budget, in about 1.78 million man-hours without a single lost-time incident during construction. NETL played no small part in making all of that happen through the dedicated work of our program management personnel.

Petra Nova’s operation represents an important step in advancing the commercialization of technologies that capture CO2 from the flue gas of existing power plants. Its success could become the model for future coal-fired power generation facilities.

The Petra Nova project is one more example of how NETL helps integrate technology solutions that enhances the nation’s energy foundation while protecting the environment. Congratulations to joint venture partners NRG and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation, for this well-deserved honor. It has been a pleasure to have had NETL involved in this impressive success.


As Director of NETL, Dr. Grace M. Bochenek brings a tradition of leadership, technical expertise, and precision to the laboratory’s mission of protecting the nation’s environment and enhancing its energy independence. For more information about Dr. Bochenek's background and experience, please click here.