The Petra Nova facility, a coal-fired power plant located near Houston, Texas, is one of only two operating power plants with carbon capture and storage in the world, and it is the only such facility in the U.S.
A U.S Department of Energy report has concluded that the $1bn project suffered chronic mechanical problems and routinely missed its targets before it was shut down this year, reports Reuters.
The plant was designed to capture 33 percent of the carbon emissions from one of four units at the WA Parish coal plant, and pipe it 81 miles to the West Ranch oil field, where it would push more oil to the surface.
However, the report finds that the plant suffered outages on 367 days since it started up in 2017.
Issues with the carbon-capture facility accounted for more than a quarter of the outage days, followed by problems with the plant’s dedicated natural gas power unit, according to the report.
The plant has not been running since the beginning of May after NRG Energy – one half of the joint venture behind the project – said a collapse in the price of oil prompted by the coronavirus pandemic made it uneconomical
Reuters says NRG would not comment on the plant’s technical performance but said it could be brought back online when economic conditions improve.