The US Department of Energy has signed a new five-year cooperative agreement with Southern Company to evaluate advanced carbon-capture and gasification technologies at the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) in Wilsonville, Ala.
The DOE launched the NCCC in 2009, tapping Southern Company to manage and operate the center.
Under the agreement, which will be managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory, Southern Company will test both pre- and post-combustion (pictured) carbon-capture technologies, as well as materials and processes that support advanced fossil-fuel conversion systems, primarily coal gasification.
The DOE says the agreement supports national efforts to mitigate climate change through more efficient, lower-cost coal conversion and carbon capture and storage.
Through this agreement, efforts at the NCCC will include:
- Demonstrating integrated coal-based energy technology for plants with clean coal technology, including carbon capture.
- Developing technologies that will subsequently be scaled directly to commercial-sized equipment and/or integrated with commercial projects, including those under DOE’s Clean Coal Power Initiative.
- Advancing lower-cost technologies to capture carbon dioxide while enabling affordable, reliable, and clean coal-based power generation.
The total award value is $187 million. DOE will contribute $150 million, with Southern Company adding $37 million in cost-sharing.
Earlier this year Southern Company voiced opposition to a federal proposal to require new coal-fired power plants to capture their carbon emissions. The EPA in September released a draft of the rules that effectively require new coal-fired plants to capture and store a portion of the carbon dioxide they produce.