NET Power, a company developing a revolutionary emission-free natural gas power generation technology, has taken a leap forward with successful combustor first-fire at its 50MWth demonstration plant in Texas, USA. This major breakthrough was made possible in part thanks to the support of UK engineering consultancy WSP, who has been working on the green technology since 2013 from concept design through to commissioning support for its client NET Power.


NET Power uses a technology called the Allam Cycle - named after British inventor Rodney Allam - in a new plant that is radically different from conventional combined-cycle plants, which use waste heat to make steam that turns a turbine. In practice, the technology uses high pressure CO2, instead of steam, as the working fluid to generate low-cost power from carbon-based fuels without producing air emissions.  The only by-products of combustion in this system are high pressure CO2 and a small amount of water.


WSP’s Manchester office was commissioned in 2016 to provide detailed engineering services to make modifications to the demonstration plant, which was already under construction in Texas, USA, that enable it to also function as a combustor test facility. The test regime, which is currently underway, uses the full, integrated Allam Cycle demonstration plant process to bring the first-of-a-kind combustor into service before ultimately being connected to the turbine for power generation.


This combustor test rig design required close collaboration between NET Power and 13 of WSP’s offices spread across four countries. Services provided by WSP’s multi-disciplinary design team included process, mechanical, civil and structural, electrical engineering, CFD and FEA analysis together with 3D modelling and visualisation.


As Britain’s last coal-fired power plants are set to close by 2025, this natural gas technology could help the UK meet its renewable target over the next decade by providing a 100% sustainable alternative that would be cheaper to build and run than a traditional gas-fired power plant. 


Steve Milward, Engineering Director at WSP said: “Our detailed knowledge of the Allam Cycle through our close relationship with the client meant that we were able to integrate the combustor test rig into the demonstration facility. This is an extremely complex project which has leveraged our specialist engineering expertise from around the world to deliver an innovative design. This has allowed NET Power to carry out the testing on site while also commissioning, validating, and operating the rest the Allam Cycle process, rather than testing at a bespoke test facility”


“8 Rivers was WSP’s subcontractor on this project, and we were pleased to partner with them,” said David Freed, Principal at 8 Rivers and 8 Rivers’ Project Manager for the NET Power demonstration plant.


“As a shareholder in NET Power and as the technology firm behind the Allam Cycle, 8 Rivers is excited about passing this most critical milestone in the development of this important new clean energy process.”



For media enquiries please contact Amelie Barrau on 07469 402 484 or [email protected]

About NET Power:


NET Power, LLC, is a Durham, NC-based company developing the natural gas-fueled Allam Cycle power system.  NET Power is owned by 8 Rivers Capital, Exelon Generation and McDermott International. For more information, please visit


About WSP:


WSP is one of the world's leading engineering professional services consulting firms. We are dedicated to our local communities and propelled by international brainpower. We are technical experts and strategic advisors including engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals. We design lasting solutions in the Property & Buildings, Transportation & Infrastructure, Environment, Industry, Resources (including Mining and Oil & Gas) and Power & Energy sectors as well as project delivery and strategic consulting services.

With 7,800 talented people in the UK and more than 42,000 globally, we engineer projects that will help societies grow for lifetimes to come. WSP has been involved in many high profile UK projects including the Shard, Crossrail, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Manchester Metrolink, M1 Smart Motorway, the re-development of London Bridge Station, and the London Olympic & Paralympic Route Network.