NET Power, a Durham-based venture backed by 8 Rivers Capital, is planning to build a pilot energy plant with what it calls “novel power generation technology,” now that the startup has secured a investor.

Louisiana-based Shaw Group will invest $50.4 million in cash and in-kind services as part of the deal.

The investment deal is the largest in a Triangle firm this year. Argos Therapeutics raised $25 million in April after cancelling a stock offering.

NET Power and Shaw plans to build a pilot power plant that utilizes its technology.

The location of the plant was not disclosed but it will be built in a collaborative effort, a NET Power spokesperson told WRAL Tech Wire.

“The project will involve NET Power, Shaw, Exelon (the largest competitive power generator in the country) and a turbine manufacturer,” the spokesperson said. “As an engineering and construction firm, Shaw will technically build the plant; however each party will participate in its construction.”

NET Power, which currently has seven full-time workers and six part-time, will be adding some employees “as the project moves forward, but a number has yet to be defined,” he added.

8 Rivers and NET Power are not disclosing their cash contributions to the deal. 8 Rivers is the funder for the development of NET Power to date.

8 Rivers Capital’s Rodney Allam, its chief technologist, developed the technology which is called the Allam Cycle. The technology involves the capture of air emissions from fossil fuel and produces carbon dioxide which can be used for enhanced oil recovery through use of CO2 or stored in a process called sequestration.

“This next-generation technology, which was invented and is being developed here in the United States, will be of great interest to both electricity-generating utilities, as well as oil recovery and exploration companies,” said J.M. Bernhard Jr., Shaw’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.

“In addition to being an emissions-free option for power generation investments created by large natural gas reserves in the United States, NET Power technology could aid in the recovery of 500 billion to 1 trillion barrels of oil worldwide,” he added. “The innovative process effectively addresses carbon capture, making this an ideal solution for clean, responsible and cost-effective energy production.”

Shaw will acquired what it calls a “substantial ownership position” in NET Power and also has exclusive global rights to engineer, procure and construct NET Power-centered plants.

The companies also are working with a manufacturer to design, develop and manufacture a turbine that utilizes the NET Power technology. 

“8 Rivers Capital is thrilled that NET Power is partnering with The Shaw Group to develop this groundbreaking technology,” said Miles Palmer, chairman of 8 Rivers Capital. “This is an important day for 8 Rivers and for the entrepreneurial community in Durham, NC, which has provided a world-class environment to develop NET Power and other 8 Rivers companies.”

8 Rivers Capital is a technology acceleration firm.