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Is capturing carbon the next growth business?

A coal-fired plant in Texas to be equipped to capture 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.

Electricity generator NRG Energy and Powerspan announced on Friday a plan to create one of the largest projects to capture and bury the carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants.

The companies said the facility in Sugar Land, Texas will capture and sequester the emissions equal to a 125 megawatt generator. That would make it a commercial-scale demonstration of the technology, one the biggest thus far.

Experts have singled out carbon capture and sequestration as an important technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal, one of the dirtiest and abundant fuels. The idea is to build the carbon capturing operations as an adjunct to coal-fired plants.

Plans at the NRG Energy plant call for capturing the pollution from its generators and then pumping it underground in the Houston area to help oil drilling.

The unit is designed to get 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions from the coal and be operational in 2012.

The Powerspan process, called Electro-Catalytic Oxidation, filters out nitric oxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury and fine particles from smokestacks. The remaining carbon dioxide is captured by an ammonia-based solution, which is later recovered.

Powerspan is backed by venture firm NGEN and has raised $60 million.