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8 Rivers Capital and Sembcorp team up for UK's first AFC power plant

Sembcorps Wilton International, Teesside site, where the Whitetail NET Power plant will be constructed. Image: Sembcorp.

Sembcorps Wilton International, Teesside site, where the Whitetail NET Power plant will be constructed. Image: Sembcorp.

Zero Degrees Whitetail Development (ZDW) and Sembcorp Energy UK are to develop the UK’s first NET Power station at the latter’s Wilton International site on Teeside.

The 300MW project will use the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle (AFC), which was pioneered by NET Power and US innovation company 8 Rivers Capital, which owns ZDW. This process combusts natural gas with oxygen rather than air, using supercritical CO2 as a working fluid to drive a turbine, as opposed to steam.

As such, all air emissions are eliminated the companies said, and the pipeline-quality CO2 is captured and stored offshore.

The Wilton International site has convenient port and pipeline access, making it easy to transport the CO2 to UK sequestration sites and then permanently stored in secure geological formations under the North Sea.

Subject to regulatory support, the NET Power station could constitute an important US-UK alliance that could bring significant investment to Teeside, said ZDW.

“The development of the UK’s first-ever net zero power station, benefitting from over £6 million government support since 2012 is a real game-changer and a significant step forward in the UK’s fight against climate change as we build back greener from the pandemic,” said Energy & Climate Change minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

Earlier this year, 8 Rivers Capital completed a pre-FEED study for UK deployments of the AFC technology, with funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The Teeside site is expected to support 2,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs during construction, including cascading supply chain opportunities. It is also expected to support the retraining of power generation engineers in the region.

BEIS is targeting the development of net zero industrial clusters around the UK, with Teeside one of a number to receive support thus far. In March, the Net Zero Teesside and the Northern Endurance Partnership received over £52 million for two projects including a world-first flexible gas power plant that uses CCUS, and offshore carbon transport and storage.

8 Rivers Capital is hoping to commission the NET Power Station as soon as 2025, and ultimately advance multiple 300MW facilities around the UK.

“The Allam-Fetvedt Cycle technology was first supported by the UK government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change in 2010, and the announcement today of the Whitetail Clean Energy project demonstrates the value of supporting research and development projects to support the UK’s efforts to achieve its net zero targets, with commercially scaled technologies today returning to the United Kingdom as proven concepts,” said Cam Hosie, chief executive of 8 Rivers Capital.

“The UK’s leadership in supporting the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle will lead to significant investment into the United Kingdom and an acceleration in the deployment of NET Power plants in the UK to provide gigawatts of clean power alongside renewable energy to help meet our collective climate goals as fast as possible.”

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