The National Carbon Capture Center, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-sponsored research facility managed and operated by Southern Company (No. 44 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list), announced it has surpassed 100,000 hours of technology testing. This milestone marks significant work by the internationally known test facility to accelerate the development of advanced technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from natural-gas and coal power plants.
“It has been an honor for Southern Company to collaborate with DOE, its National Energy Technology Laboratory and our partners at the National Carbon Capture Center to evaluate and demonstrate next-generation carbon capture technologies,” said Southern Company Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kimberly S. Greene. “I also commend Southern Company’s highly skilled employees, whose commitment to building the future of energy through innovation is at the heart of this achievement.”
Since its creation by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy in 2009, the National Carbon Capture Center has worked with third-party technology developers – including over 30 government, industry, university and research organizations from seven countries. Located in Wilsonville, Alabama, adjacent to Southern Company subsidiary Alabama Power’s Plant Gaston, the facility offers a pathway to move novel technologies out of the laboratory and demonstrate them in the real-world conditions of a power plant.
Research at the National Carbon Capture Center can simultaneously evaluate multiple technologies at various levels of maturity, accelerating the pace of development. Through the testing of approximately 60 technologies, screened from more than 300 options, the National Carbon Capture Center has directly participated in the reduction of carbon capture costs by one-third since 2011.
The National Carbon Capture Center also co-founded and chairs the International Test Center Network, a global coalition of facilities focused on accelerating the research, development and commercial deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies. Under the center’s guidance, worldwide CCUS testing collaboration and knowledge sharing is ongoing in Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S.
While technology development at the National Carbon Capture Center currently focuses on post-combustion carbon capture for coal-fired power generation, the facility is expanding its testing of carbon capture technologies for natural gas-fired power plants.
With its historic commitment to research and development, Southern Company remains at the forefront of technology innovation for the production, delivery and end-use of energy, managing approximately $2.3 billion in research and development investments since the 1960s.