Development of technically viable, cost-effective carbon capture technologies is necessary to support the need for an abundant, reliable, affordable supply of energy – and is an important part of any strategy to reduce carbon emissions while ensuring U.S. economic and energy security. From its facility in Wilsonville, Alabama, the National Carbon Capture Center provides a highly skilled team, along with the infrastructure, real-world operating conditions and flexible testing needed for commercial application of carbon capture in natural gas- and coal-based power plants. Novel bench- and pilot-scale processes are tested over a range of operating conditions, while generating data that evaluates efficiency, environmental performance and economic viability.
Natural Gas Carbon Capture
The National Carbon Capture Center supports the development of a range of technologies to ensure a broad variety of cost-competitive options for carbon capture. While technology development at the center includes post-combustion carbon capture for coal-fired power plants, plans are underway to expand the scope of the facility to provide additional test sites for carbon capture with flue gas from natural gas-fired power plants.
Post-Combustion Carbon Capture
Post-combustion carbon capture testing at the National Carbon Capture Center uses flue gas from an 880-megawatt supercritical pulverized coal unit at Alabama Power’s Plant Gaston. The center supports the development of multiple post-combustion technologies by providing test sites with commercially relevant operating conditions. These include fully integrated solvent units for testing developers’ advanced carbon capture solvents and seven pilot- and bench-scale test bays for developers to install test skids.
Since construction of the post-combustion infrastructure was completed in 2011, the National Carbon Capture Center has successfully supported testing of new carbon capture enzymes, solvents, membranes and other emerging processes, while also focusing on reducing capital and operating cost penalties.