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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

The Kemper County Energy Facility

One of the latest CCS projects to begin operating in the United States is the Kemper County Energy Facility in the state of Mississippi. Richard Espoito, the Geosciences, Carbon Utilization and Storage Southern Company, programme manager, presented an up-beat account at the start of the GHGHT-13 conference on Thursday. Richard stressed the modern 'Risk Sophisticated' attitude towards power production and environmental compliance. The company has a mixed portfolio of generation technologies including combined-cycle gas turbine, coal, nuclear, renewables and now this latest addition a lignite processing plant that produces, sulphuric acid, ammonia, power and CO2. Southern company also own natural gas and CO2 pipelines. The plant is located near a large lignite deposit which is mined and delivered to the site. This carbonaceous deposit has a lower calorific value by comparison with other coals, but here it can be dried with waste heat before the extraction of chemical commodities by gasification. CO2 is supplied via pipeline for enhanced oil recovery; a technology widely used in the state which has the added benefit of eventual permanent retention within oil reservoirs. Southern have also just announced support from the US Department of Energy to characterize a deep saline formation that could offer even greater permanent storage. Richard explained that one reason for using lignite is that the fuel source offers a long-term guarantee of supply and price stability to balance against the volatility of oil and gas price fluctuation. This state-of-the-art plant also maximizes the use of water by extracting moisture from the lignite thereby avoiding extraction from external sources such as rivers. Once fully operational Kemper will have 500 employees. 

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