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
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% 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.
Technology Laboratory, www.netl.doe.gov