Greatpoint energy has a coal to natural gas catalyzation process that would make coal cleaner than natural gas as a power source.
Greatpoint Energy current plan is to get to full scale plants in 2022.
The company's analysis found that it can produce natural gas with a lower carbon footprint than extracting natural gas from the ground, assuming a carbon storage site can be found. Its financial target is making gas at between $4 and $5 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), which is in the range of today's prices but lower than natural gas prices before the global recession hit.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick played a key role in getting its demonstration facility sited and quickly approved. It took just 18 months to build and get its plant online.
Its next project is to open a larger pilot facility in China at a coal-fired power plant with Datang Huanyin Electric Power, one of the biggest polluters on the planet. "If we can show (Datang) that they can make more money being clean rather than dirty, then we can make a real impact," says GreatPoint Energy CEO Andrew Perlman.
These facilities aren't cheap: the pilot plant in China will cost between $100 million and $200 million, financed primarily by Datang. A full-scale operation would cost $1 billion to build
In its demonstration plant in China, GreatPoint's technology will convert 1,500 tons of coal a day into natural gas.