Exxon, Fuel Cell Energy to test new carbon capture tech at Southern Co. plant
Fuel Cell Energy and ExxonMobil have selected a location in Alabama to test a fuel cell carbon capture technology.
The 2.3 MW pilot project will be tested at Alabama power’s 2,657 MW James M. Barry plant in Bucks that is owned by Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co.
- The technology involves a carbonate fuel cell that will be used to concentrate and capture a portion of the carbon dioxide emissions from the power plant as part of the fuel cells' power generation process.
Fuel cells have low emissions, but they use natural gas, and are not emission free, and have relatively high costs.
The pilot project in Alabama could help address to issues by using some of the carbon dioxide from the conventional power plant. The 2.3 MW pilot project aims to show that it can reduce CO2 emissions from the host plant at a lower cost than other carbon capture technology because it would avoid the costs of parasitic load usually associated with carbon capture because the fuel cell capturing the CO2 would also generate power.
The test project will direct flue gas from the Barry plant to the fuel cells' air intake system. The CO2 will be compressed and cooled and combined with natural gas, the usual fuel for fuel cells. The system would also eliminate about 70% of the nitrogen oxide from coal plant’s emissions.
Installation of the fuel cells is scheduled to begin after completion of engineering studies that are under way.
"The fuel cell carbon capture solution we are advancing with ExxonMobil could be a game-changer in affordably reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal and gas-fired power plants globally," Chip Bottone, president and CEO of Fuel Cell Energy said in a statement.
The fuel cell demonstration project is being conducted under a Department of Energy award program. Plant Barry was also the site of another DOE CCS demonstration project, but Southern withdrew from that project.
Southern has an ongoing carbon capture project, partially funded by the DOE, at its Kemper County plant in Mississippi. That 582 MW project uses integrated gasification combined cycle technology, as well as carbon capture and storage, but is behind schedule and far over budget.
- Energy Factor by ExxonMobil ExxonMobil and FuelCell Energy progressing one-of-a-kind carbon capture fuel cell solution
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