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 global carbon emissions. 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. 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.

Post-Combustion Carbon Capture

The current focus of the National Carbon Capture Center is testing of post-combustion carbon capture technologies, which utilizes 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 carbon capture 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 supported testing of new carbon capture enzymes, solvents, membranes and other emerging processes, while also focusing on reducing capital and operating cost penalties. The center also has the capability to provide flue gas at compositions typical of flue gas from a natural gas-fired power plant.

Natural Gas Carbon Capture

While technology development at the National Carbon Capture Center currently focuses on 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 from natural gas-fired power plants.