As a world-class, neutral test facility, the National Carbon Capture Center is working to accelerate the commercialization of advanced technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from both coal and natural gas power generation. Since its creation by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2009, the center has become a cornerstone of U.S. innovation in the research and development of cost-effective, technically viable carbon capture technologies.
Managed and operated by Southern Company, the National Carbon Capture Center works with third-party developers from the U.S. and six other countries to bridge the gap between laboratory research and large-scale demonstrations. The center’s state-of-the-art facilities provide the realistic operating conditions of a power plant and the infrastructure to install and evaluate the most promising carbon capture technologies for scale-up and future commercial deployment.
The National Carbon Capture Center is located in Wilsonville, Alabama, at the site of the Power Systems Development Facility (PSDF), which was established by DOE in 1995 as the premier advanced coal power generation research facility in the world. DOE's vision for the PSDF was to serve as the proving ground for advanced power systems and bolster U.S. efforts to develop cost-effective, reliable coal-based generation technologies. Work at the PSDF and later at the National Carbon Capture Center fulfilled this expectation and is now a model for the industry.
Test facilities at the original PSDF site include gasification and pre-combustion carbon capture processes. The pre-combustion program has supported real-world testing of solvents, sorbents, catalysts, membranes and other emerging technologies with coal-derived syngas. In addition to providing syngas for pre-combustion carbon capture testing, the center’s gasification process and infrastructure has supported the development and commercialization of several key technologies.
The National Carbon Capture Center has completed more than 100,000 hours of technology testing, leading to significant scale-ups, process enhancements and technological breakthroughs. Based on pilot testing and development of more than 60 developer projects, the facility has reduced the projected cost of carbon capture by one-third since 2011, with additional cost savings likely in the future.