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Southern Company has announced that its subsidiary Mississippi Power has started producing syngas using lignite at the Kemper County energy facility. The successful production of syngas demonstrates the viability of the Transport Integrated Gasification, which is being used for the first time at commercial scale at the state-of-the-art facility, and will be integrated with combined cycles.
While conventional IGCC plants work best with bituminous coal, the transport gasifier targets low grade coals such as lignite.
An integral aspect of the plant's operations, syngas is created when locally mined lignite is heated at high temperatures in the plant's gasifiers, converting the coal to gas. To produce electricity, the plant is designed to use syngas similarly to natural gas to power a turbine. The facility is designed to capture at least 65 percent of carbon dioxide, with resulting emissions better than a similarly sized natural gas plant.
The TRIG coal gasification technology deployed at the plant was jointly developed by Southern Company, KBR and the U.S. Department of Energy over the past two decades at the Power Systems Development Facility, an Alabama-based research facility operated by Southern Company.
The successful production of syngas is an important step in the systematic process of achieving the facility's full commercial operation. During the coming weeks, the Kemper project team also will be focused on starting up and integrating various systems needed to achieve the next major milestone - using syngas to produce electricity at the plant.