ATLANTA — Southern Company has captured carbon dioxide from one of its power plants for the first time.
The research accomplishment was achieved this month at subsidiary Georgia Power’s Plant Yates near Newnan, Ga.
The pilot-scale project at Plant Yates, which uses a capture system developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), will provide additional process improvements before the technology is demonstrated next year at a much larger 25-megawatt scale at Plant Barry, which is owned and operated by Southern Company subsidiary Alabama Power near Mobile, Ala.
During the pilot at Plant Yates, a small amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) was captured, using a solvent that absorbs CO2, and then returned to the plant’s flue gas. At Plant Barry, the carbon dioxide will be compressed and transported via pipeline to deep underground storage formations.
“Capturing CO2 from an operating power plant is an important step forward in our efforts to develop effective and cost-efficient technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions while ensuring a continued reliable and affordable supply of electricity for our customers,” said Chris Hobson, Southern Company chief environmental officer. “Along with our other carbon capture and storage research initiatives, our success here will help us move closer to the ultimate goal of commercial deployment.”
Southern Company is a participant in several research initiatives to advance the development of carbon capture and storage technology, a key component in the nation’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to the projects at Yates and Barry, Southern Company operates the National Carbon Capture Center for the U.S. Department of Energy near Birmingham, Ala., and its subsidiary Mississippi Power is building an advanced commercial-scale coal gasification power plant in Kemper County that will include carbon capture and re-use for enhanced oil recovery. Other carbon capture and storage projects are under way or completed at other Southern Company facilities.
The test at Plant Yates will help confirm MHI’s emission-control design and provide other findings important to the much larger-scale work next year at the Plant Barry test, which represents one of the industry’s largest demonstrations of a start-to-finish power plant carbon capture and storage system, according to the company.