Energy Excursions

Post-combustion CCUS in Texas

WA Parish Generating Station

The multi-million dollar Petra Nova Project, southwest of Houston, was taken up by two partnering companies to retrofit one of the boiler units at their WA Parish Generating Station with a post-combustion carbon capture treatment system. The W.A. Parish Generating Station is a 3.65-gigawatt (3,653 MW), dual-fired power plant. The plant has both gas-fired and coal-fired units, and is one of the largest power stations in the US.1WA Parish Generating Station. (2020, October 15). In Wikipedia. To achieve the project’s goals, post-combustion carbon capture technology was installed to attain carbon reduction targets.2NRG. (n.d.). Carbon capture and the future of coal power. Retrieved June 24, 2021, from

Petra Nova Carbon Capture Site. The tall tower is the absorber.

Partnerships are Key

Petra Nova has demonstrated technology to help identify technical issues arising from scaling up the carbon capture process and refine the technology for deployment in new projects across the world. The success of this endeavor is a result of a unique partnership.

NRG of Texas and JX Nippon of Japan Partner on Capture Project

In a 50/50 joint venture with JX Nippon, NRG Energy created the world’s largest carbon capture facility as part of their $1 billion Petra Nova project. NRG is headquartered in Houston, Texas and is involved in energy generation and retail electricity. JX Nippon is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan and is an oil and gas exploration company.

U.S. Department of Energy Funding

The project began with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant of $195 million, and was designed to help foster the reduction of carbon emissions within the fossil fuel industry. An additional joint venture with Hilcorp Energy was established to utilize the carbon captured to leverage the potential of the mature West Ranch oil field southwest of Houston.3NRG. (n.d.). Carbon capture and the future of coal power. Retrieved June 24, 2021, from Hilcorp is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

Hilcorp of Texas Partners on Enhanced Oil Recovery

The Hilcorp partnership resulted in construction of an 80-mile pipeline to route the captured carbon dioxide for use in increasing production at the West Ranch oil field. The project became operational in December 2016, on budget and on schedule. Within the first ten months, the plant delivered more than 1 Mt of captured CO2 and boosted oil production of the West Ranch oil field 1,300%.4NRG. (n.d.). Carbon capture and the future of coal power. Retrieved June 24, 2021, from

Bureau of Economic Geology Monitors the Project

The Gulf Coast Carbon Center at the Bureau of Economic Geology was contracted to monitor, verify, and account for the CO2 injected at West Ranch oil field.

Project Metrics

Petra Nova was impacted by the effects of the worldwide economic downturn as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, including the demand for and the price of oil. Given the state of oil markets, in May 2020 the carbon capture facility was placed in reserve shutdown status to allow it to be brought back online when economic conditions improve.5NRG. (n.d.). Carbon capture and the future of coal power. Retrieved June 24, 2021, from

  • From initial start-up in December 2016 to the end of the three-year demonstration period, the Petra Nova facility captured 92.4% of CO2 from flue gas
  • More than 3 Mt of CO2 have been captured
  • 99.08% of captured CO2 was sequestered as determined by the Bureau of Economic Geology (UT-Austin) — meeting the DOE target of 99%
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