The National Carbon Capture Center, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-sponsored research user facility managed and operated by Southern Company, has announced a significant milestone: 10 years of technology development. The achievement represents more than 100,000 hours of neutral pilot testing to accelerate the development of technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fueled power plants.
“Southern Company has a prolific research partnership with DOE and its national laboratories that has advanced many transformational energy technologies,” said Mark Lantrip, president and chief executive officer of Southern Company Services. “The work of the National Carbon Capture Center demonstrates that longstanding relationship. Southern Company is proud to lead this internationally known effort as we explore a variety of low-carbon solutions to build the future of energy.”
Since its creation in 2009, the National Carbon Capture Center – with DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory and other partners – has collaborated with third-party developers from the U.S. and six other countries. Located in Wilsonville, Alabama, adjacent to Southern Company subsidiary Alabama Power’s Plant Gaston, the facility offers a pathway for carbon capture innovators from universities, industry and the government to move novel technologies out of the lab and into real-world operating conditions – a key step in future commercial deployment.
Through the testing of approximately 60 technologies, the National Carbon Capture Center has already participated in the reduction of carbon capture costs from fossil-fueled power generation by one-third. The center is currently adding infrastructure to broaden its testing of carbon capture technologies for natural gas power plants. This new capability is expected to further reduce carbon capture costs, enable flexible operation on both coal and natural gas and help identify options for the continued use of fossil energy as a U.S. power generation resource.
“Our highly skilled employees have been the foundation of the National Carbon Capture Center’s success,” said Roxann Walsh, Southern Company research and development director. “We look forward to providing the same commitment and expertise in the future through the early-stage testing that is vital in addressing the challenges and opportunities of carbon capture.”
Reflecting its leadership in carbon capture technology innovation, the National Carbon Capture Center co-founded the International Test Center Network, a global carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology coalition. It has ongoing collaboration in Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, the European Union, United Arab Emirates and United States.
Celebrating 50 years since its formation, Southern Company’s research and development organization remains at the forefront of technology innovation for energy production, delivery and use. Its research program explores a full spectrum of solutions to provide clean, safe, reliable, affordable energy to customers and communities.