World's largest carbon capture plant opening in Richmond

By Janelle Bludau - Reporter , Stephanie Cano - Digital News Editor

RICHMOND, Texas - It was their very own version of a ribbon cutting. Carbon capture facility Petro Nova opened the valves Thursday morning in Fort Bend County.

"Petra Nova captures a ton of carbon dioxide every 17 seconds, preventing it from entering our atmosphere," NRG President and CEO Mauricio Gutierrez said.

It's the world's largest of its kind. The amount of CO2 it captures every year is equivalent to taking 350,000 cars off the road.

"This is a stunning display of what American and Japanese working together can do. We're investing in cleaner power," Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said.

PHOTOS: Petra Nova Project

Here's how the facility works: a solvent separates the CO2 from the flue gas that would normally be emitted from the plant. That CO2 is then transported 81 miles through a pipe to an oil field in Jackson County. The CO2 is then used to recover oil in the field, going from about 300 barrels a day to 15,000.

Both Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Governor Greg Abbott attended the ceremony.

"They say everything is bigger in Texas, and this is exactly why," Abbott said.

Both are calling the facility a great achievement for the state of Texas.

VIDEO: Grand Opening of Petra Nova in Texas 

"The CO2 is being captured and put to use doing what Texans know best how to do, and that is to produce even more energy from our oil fields," Abbott said.

That facility actually came online back in September, and already it's contributed to increased oil production at the field in Jackson County. ​

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