With traditional power plants, hot steam generated by burning fossil fuels is used to spin turbines that generate power. The Allam Cycle uses high-pressure CO2 to spin the turbine. It produces low-cost power while capturing 100% of CO2.
There are a number of benefits of the Allam Cycle. As with CCUS, pipeline-ready CO2 can be transported for use in industry or stored underground. And the CO2 from the Allam Cycle can also be reused over again to generate power, preventing the energy wastage of traditional plants.
Another major plus of the Allam Cycle is that it can meet the modern requirements of the grid. It can deliver power when the market needs it. The existing steam method is like boiling a kettle: it takes time to boil, so it is slow to react to the grid. The Allam Cycle is like a jet engine: it can ramp up and down with the load. Because the Allam Cycle can match the grid, it is an excellent technology to sit alongside weather-dependent wind and solar power generation.
A final benefit of the Allam Cycle is that it can be used to create hydrogen - which can be used as a clean energy source - and other valuable products.
For example, hydrogen produced by the Allam Cycle can also be used to produce the urea used in fertiliser. Australia currently imports fertiliser, which has a significant carbon footprint, but the Allam Cycle could see a new domestic industry producing zero-emissions fertiliser.
The technology was invented by British chemical engineer and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rodney Allam and was successfully demonstrated at a new plant in La Porte, Texas.
With Australia’s abundant natural resources, the Allam Cycle has the potential to unlock new, clean industries of the future, while also helping reduce the emissions from industrial sectors we rely on today.