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National Carbon Capture Center Launches Post-Combustion Test Center

June 7, 2011 - 1:00pm


Washington, D.C. - The recent successful commissioning of an Alabama-based test facility is another step forward in research that will speed deployment of innovative post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technologies for coal-based power plants, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Technologies tested at the Post-Combustion Carbon Capture Center (or PC4) are an important component of Carbon Capture and Storage, whose commercial deployment is considered by many experts as essential for helping to reduce human-generated CO2 emissions that contribute to potential climate change.

The PC4 facility is part of the larger NCCC, a testing and evaluation center established by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2009 and operated and managed by Southern Company. The NCCC works collaboratively with technology developers worldwide to test and evaluate both pre- and post-combustion carbon capture technologies under realistic conditions, accelerating development of cost-effective CO2 capture technologies and ensuring continued use of coal for power generation.

The PC4 is located at the Alabama Power Gaston power plant Unit 5, an 880 MW supercritical pulverized coal unit. Initial testing at the PC4 began recently when researchers used a solvent called monoethanolamine (MEA) to capture CO2 from a slipstream of flue gas from the plant. To date, the MEA solvent has exceeded the expected 90 percent CO2 capture, and the unit is now in steady operation capturing about 10 tons of CO2 per day. Data from these initial tests will be used as a baseline to evaluate the performance of emerging CO2 capture technologies.

To-date, the NCCC has entered into testing agreements with Aker Clean Carbon AS and Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc. for evaluation of their advanced CO2 capture processes at PC4. Both companies plan to conduct testing of their respective technologies at the NCCC later this year.

In addition to DOE and Southern Company, participants in the NCCC include American Electric Power, Arch Coal, EPRI, Luminant, NRG Energy, Peabody Energy, and RioTinto. For more information about the center, please visit the NCCC website.