TCEQ Funds UH Participation in STEP Demo Project to Reduce Emissions in Texas Using sCO2 Power Cycle Technology
March 3, 2020
Des Plaines, IL
The University of Houston (UH), with funding from the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ), is joining in a unique demonstration of next-generation, higher-efficiency, lower-cost electric power plants enabled by supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) technology.
UH is building onto their role as an academic partner in the Supercritical Transformational Electric Power (STEP) project known as STEP Demo. With the grant from TCEQ, the project will provide UH with design and operational data from the facility for evaluation and analysis. UH’s assessments will assist the agency with technologies and opportunities to reduce air pollutants and achieve attainment with federal air quality standards.
GTI, in collaboration with Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and GE Research, is leading STEP Demo with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy/National Energy Technology Laboratory (U.S. DOE/NETL) and numerous other industry partners.
The project is designing, constructing, and operating a 10 Megawatt-electric pilot plant on the SwRI campus in San Antonio, TX, which is slated to start up by the end of this year. It will be used to advance the sCO2 Brayton power cycle and demonstrate performance over a range of operating conditions. It will be among the largest scale facilities for sCO2 technology in the world.
The pilot facility will demonstrate a fully integrated electricity generating power plant using this transformational sCO2-based power cycle technology that can offer dramatically improved size and performance efficiencies, economics, operational flexibility, and environmental performance.
Texas is recognized for its leadership in the energy industry, supporting and investing in innovative projects that look to the future. In a state that uses tremendous amounts of power, UH and TCEQ involvement in the STEP Demo project will quantify reduced emissions, improved efficiencies, and other attributes of sCO2-based facilities within Texas’ integrated electric power generation grid.
When deployed, the technology could help Texas improve air quality, grow the local economy with jobs that benefit the community, and use abundant energy resources such as natural gas, industrial waste heat, and concentrated solar to provide clean electric power at lower costs.
The STEP Demo facility is expected to attract further substantial investment now and in the long term. It has broad applications and is intended to evolve over time to keep pace with industry advancements. The plant design is flexible and can be reconfigured to accommodate new efforts so it will remain a testbed for future sCO2-cycle-based power development. It is anticipated that the facility will attract scientists and engineers from around the globe for technology testing, and offer enhanced research and education opportunities for the next generation of energy professionals.
This open project is welcoming new partners from around the world. OEMs, engineering companies, and power plant owner/operators are invited to join to gain a better understanding of how sCO2 technology can improve high-efficiency power generation. For more information, visit www.stepdemo.us.
GTI is a leading nonprofit research, development and training organization that has been addressing global energy and environmental challenges by developing technology-based solutions for consumers, industry, and government for more than 75 years. GTI leads the STEP Demo project as the prime contractor with the U.S. Department of Energy/National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE/NETL).
Southwest Research Institute is a premier independent, nonprofit research and development organization using multidisciplinary services to provide solutions to some of the world’s most challenging scientific and engineering problems. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, SwRI occupies more than 1,500 acres, providing over 2.3 million square feet of laboratories, test facilities, workshops, and offices for approximately 3,000 employees who perform contract work for government and industry clients.
About GE Research
GE Research is GE’s innovation powerhouse where research meets reality. It is a world-class team of 1,000+ scientific, engineering and marketing minds (600+ Ph. Ds), working at the intersection of physics and markets, physical and digital technologies, and across a broad set of industries to deliver world-changing innovations and capabilities for their customers.