Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has signed a new 5-year cooperative agreement with Southern Company to evaluate advanced carbon-capture and gasification technologies at the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) in Wilsonville, Ala.

Under the agreement, which will be managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory, Southern Company (Atlanta, Ga.) will test both pre- and post-combustion carbon-capture technologies, as well as materials and processes that support advanced fossil-fuel conversion systems, primarily coal gasification. The agreement supports national efforts to mitigate climate change through more efficient, lower-cost coal conversion and carbon capture and storage.

Southern Company’s cost-shared project proposal, “Post-Combustion and Pre-Combustion Carbon Dioxide Capture and Gasification Technologies Testing,” was selected in January 2014 following a funding opportunity announcement issued in August 2013. The cooperative agreement for work to be completed was executed earlier this month.

Through this agreement, efforts at the NCCC will include —

  • Demonstrating integrated coal-based energy technology for plants with clean coal technology, including carbon capture.
  • Developing technologies that will subsequently be scaled directly to commercial-sized equipment and/or integrated with commercial projects, including those under DOE’s Clean Coal Power Initiative.
  • Advancing lower-cost technologies to capture carbon dioxide while enabling affordable, reliable, and clean coal-based power generation for years to come.

The NCCC has been operating since 2009, when it was established by Southern Company at the Power Systems Development Facility under an earlier cooperative agreement with DOE. The NCCC is equipped to test multiple slipstreams from diverse fuel sources simultaneously under commercial conditions. At the NCCC, Southern Company will identify and test promising technologies from third-party developers from around the world, including government entities, industry, and universities.

The new cooperative agreement gives the NCCC the means to provide services and infrastructure that will enable it to become a cornerstone for U.S. leadership in advanced clean coal technology development. Technologies tested and demonstrated at the NCCC will accelerate the development and improve the performance of cost-effective carbon-capture and gasification technologies.

The total award value is $187 million. DOE will contribute $150 million, with Southern Company adding $37 million in cost-sharing.