Southern Company – through subsidiary Southern Generation Technologies, LLC – and KBR, LLC, of Houston, Texas, have formed an alliance to market the Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIG), to power companies worldwide. The technology, which was developed by Southern Company and KBR under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), can support coal-based generation with carbon dioxide emissions comparable to those of a natural gas plant, providing a viable solution for clean coal generation in the U.S. and around the world.
More than half of the world's coal reserves consist of low-rank coal, such as lignite and sub-bituminous coal – the types that TRIG was developed to utilize. China alone is expected to add more than 300,000 MW of new coal-based generating capacity by 2035, while India and other parts of Asia are projected to add more than 100,000 MW in that same time frame.
In the U.S., Mississippi Power, a Southern Company subsidiary, is using TRIG as the basis for its state-of-the-art integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) facility under construction in Kemper County, Miss. An abundance of Mississippi lignite located adjacent to the plant site will be gasified to create clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy for customers for the next 40 years. Since emission controls are built into the coal gasification process, the project is expected to have fewer sulfur dioxide, particulate and mercury emissions than traditional pulverized coal technology while capturing at least 65% CO2 produced, with resulting CO2 emissions comparable to those of a similarly sized natural gas plant.
TRIG technology incorporates numerous design and efficiency features that significantly improve a facility's cost, reliability and emissions performance, as well as water withdrawal requirements, compared with traditional coal-fired generation.
In the case of the Kemper County project, the byproducts are expected to significantly offset the cost of the fuel of the plant. For example, the carbon captured at the Kemper County energy facility will assist in enhanced oil recovery, enabling the production of more domestically sourced oil and increasing America's energy security when the IGCC facility enters service, scheduled for 2014. Enhanced oil recovery is a well-established method for increasing oil production by injecting CO2 into depleted oil wells to force more oil out of the ground.
As part of a diverse portfolio of energy resources, TRIG technology can be designed and configured to help meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules.