Calpine Announces Pilot Project to Generate Cleaner Power and Capture Hazardous Emissions

For millions of years, the earth absorbed excess carbon dioxide through forests, oceans and rivers, until human activity upset the balance of natural cycles.

Scientists have long worked to slow and slow the progression of global warming, but now, with government subsidies, targets and tax incentives, some of the nation’s largest energy producers are threatening to do harm. We are also looking at ways to capture the scarce carbon and store it safely far below. Observe the surface of the planet before entering the atmosphere.

One such test project is currently underway at Calpine’s Los Medanos Energy Center in the East Bay. Calpine, which claims to be the nation’s largest producer of electricity from natural gas and geothermal resources, conducted its first carbon capture demonstration pilot Friday at its Pittsburgh facility to test new technology that could capture nearly all of the company’s carbon footprint. Announced.

“Today is a day that represents environmental progress that has always been part of our Calpine DNA,” Calpine CEO Thad Hill said as state leaders and the launch party gathered. Told many other guests. “Our goal is to lead. We have consistently supported state and federal carbon reduction programs.”

Hill added that the company is focused on becoming a leading decarbonized power company and has projects in many locations around the country.

“We have to eliminate carbon emissions,” he said. “And it’s important that it’s affordable to families who are actually paying their electricity bills.”

On Friday, July 14, 2023, visitors to the Los Medanos Energy Center in Pittsburgh will tour a new absorber tower where carbon dioxide combines with a solvent to start the carbon capture process. Calpine’s gas power plant, which produces steam and electricity, is currently undergoing a test pilot to see if carbon can be captured in a safe, efficient and cost-effective manner. (Judith Preeb/Staff)

Developed by ION Clean Energy, this pilot innovative technology will capture and store carbon, making reducing greenhouse gas emissions at existing power plants more practical and cost-effective, the company said. person says. In this process, a carbon dioxide-rich gas moves to an absorption tower where a liquid solvent combines with the gas. The carbon is then safely stored in pipes and sent to her 800 m above Earth for possible reuse.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s Los Medanos Energy Center was selected for the pilot because it provides both steam and electricity, has a higher capacity utilization rate, and is a better base for testing than Calpine’s other facilities. It is said that it is because it has a function similar to road driving.

ION Clean Energy’s Andrew Awtry said the process has been around for decades, but the expected results with ION’s newly developed solvent and technology will be “truly unprecedented.” I was.

“The solvent itself is very stable, so it has a long shelf life and can be maintained for long periods of operation without causing solvent degradation or solvent performance degradation,” Autry said. increase.

The process will also capture 95% of the carbon emitted by the 678-megawatt plant, he said. A 1-megawatt test can capture about 10 tons of carbon dioxide per day for about 13 to 18 months, company officials said.

The $25 million project is funded primarily by Department of Energy and National Energy Technology Laboratory grants, with ION and Calpine sharing 20% ​​of the remaining cost.

If successful, many believe the study could provide valuable information and lead to the decarbonization of existing natural gas power plants in California and across the United States.

Meanwhile, Hill said carbon capture is “critical to the success of the energy transition” in the future.

“Bringing carbon capture to (energy) plants like the one here – reliable, safe and efficient plants – would really change the world,” he added.

The decarbonization process will allow Calpine and other companies to meet the state’s goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by 2050. It could also help achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of becoming carbon neutral. Achieve 100% clean electricity by 2035.

A longtime decarbonization advocate, California Finance Minister Fiona Marr is working closely with the Governor’s Office to clean and green the environment.

“Today, I am able to stand here and applaud Governor Gavin Newsom for developing the first zero carbon plan by 2045, with the goal of reducing air pollution by 71% by 2045. I am honored,” she said. “And it won’t be easy.”

Leanne Randolph, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, agrees. His board adopted the latest climate change plan last December, pledging an economy-wide strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 and reduce carbon emission levels by 48% below 1990 levels by 2030. launched.

“We know we are in a climate crisis, we know we are feeling the effects of climate change right now, we know we need to act,” she said.

Randolph called carbon capture and sequestration a “critical tool” to combat climate change, and admitted that the transition to cleaner energy “will take time.”

“This project really gives us the learnings we need to scale this effort.

California Natural Resources Agency Director Wade Crowfoot called the event a “huge milestone” and “a pivotal moment.”

“We know California and Californians are on the front lines of climate change,” he said, adding that from devastating fires and droughts to the wettest week on state record, this year’s Pointed out extreme weather in the state.

“So this Earth is not going to be what it was 10 years ago, and it will affect our lives and, perhaps more importantly, radically change the lives of our children and grandchildren. will,” he said.

“For all these reasons, we must act even faster to not only protect Californians and Americans from the effects of climate change, but to build a brighter future. will do so by reducing pollution and going beyond fossil fuels wherever possible to capture the pollution and carbon that is being generated today.”

“This is a huge step forward, and one that should be celebrated as more work is done,” added Crowfoot. Calpine Announces Pilot Project to Generate Cleaner Power and Capture Hazardous Emissions

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