Innovative technologies to enable the U.S. chemical industry to reduce carbon emissions and help the nation achieve a 100% clean electricity sector by 2035 are moving forward in two side-by-side projects supported with NETL expertise near Houston, Texas.
Project leaders from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NETL visited Deer Park for a first-hand look at work to complete front-end engineering design (FEED) studies at the Deer Park Energy Center, a natural gas cogeneration facility, and the neighboring Shell petrochemical plant, which uses steam generated by the cogeneration facility in its production operations. Besides supplying steam to the adjacent Shell operation, the Deer Park Energy Center generates electric power that is sold to the wholesale market.
NETL’s Nicole Shamitko-Klingensmith, a point source carbon capture project manager, said the project at the cogeneration facility is aimed at reducing the cost of carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and generating clean energy jobs.
“The addition of a post-combustion carbon capture (PCC) system at Deer Park will allow the unit to serve as a regional anchor for a developing carbon capture and management industry in the Houston area,” Shamitko-Klingensmith said.
Calpine Texas CCUS Holdings LLC has teamed with Electricore Inc. to complete the FEED study on a modular, commercial-scale PCC system to capture 95% of the total CO2 emissions from the flue gas generated by the cogeneration facility (roughly 5 million tonnes per year). The PCC system will utilize Shell’s CANSOLV technology, which has been tested at commercial scale for CO2 capture. The Calpine team is in the final stages of the project.
WSP USA Environment & Infrastructure Inc., in partnership with the Southern States Energy Board and the University of Houston, is completing a FEED study for a second PCC system at the Deer Park site to separate and capture more than 820,000 tonnes per year of CO2 emissions from the co-located Shell Chemicals Complex.
The captured CO2 will be collected, dehydrated and compressed so it is the appropriate quality to be routed to an envisioned pipeline for transport and ultimately carbon storage in the subsurface.
This project will also utilize Shell’s CANSOLV technology, which employs a regenerable solvent to capture CO2 emitted from the olefin units and a hydrotreater unit.
“Carbon management is critical to the U.S. chemicals industry because it represents one of several sectors with high value-added decarbonization opportunity,” said Mariah Young, a federal project manager at NETL. “The effort is ongoing and the project team is currently finalizing process flow diagrams and continues work on piping and instrumentation diagrams and plot plans to capture CO2 from multiple sources on the site.”
The side-by-side location of the cogeneration facility and Shell chemical complex has the potential for economies of scope. “Although not currently in the scope of either project, DOE recognizes the potential for some integration of the two capture processes due to their proximity to one another and the use of the CANSOLV technology in both projects,” Young said.
The Deer Park projects were among 12 projects awarded a total of $45 million in federal funding to advance point-source carbon capture and storage technologies that can capture at least 95% of CO2 emissions generated from natural gas power and industrial facilities. These research and development, FEED and engineering-scale projects are a part of DOE’s efforts to deploy a portfolio of innovative solutions to help achieve the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and a 100% clean electricity sector by 2035.
Since the easing of Covid-19 travels restrictions, Shamitko-Klingensmith, Young and other members of NETL’s Point Source Carbon Capture Team have completed a series of field visits to ensure projects remain on schedule and within budget and to resolve obstacles related to construction and other issues.
NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant, and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.