Southern Co. has partnered with the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB) to inject carbon dioxide captured from Alabama Power’s Plant Barry into a 9,000-feet-deep saline reservoir north of Mobile, Ala.

This storage project, to be located in the Citronelle Oil Field, is expected to begin in 2011 and continue at least four years. During this time, up to 150,000 tons of CO2 per year—the equivalent of emissions from 25 MW of Plant Barry’s generating capacity—will be captured at the plant, transported via pipeline, and injected into the saline formation, which has oil-bearing formations above and below. A thorough monitoring process will be used to track the movement of the injected CO2 and ensure that it is safely and permanently stored, the DOE said in a statement.

SECARB, led by Southern States Energy Board, and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), is coordinating the CO2 storage effort. The regional partnership selected the test site because it is representative of similar saline formations that are believed to have great potential for carbon storage. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently suggested that formations underlying an area of approximately 46,000 square miles in southern Alabama and Mississippi, the Florida Panhandle, and Louisiana could store up to 10 billion metric tons of CO2.

The project is the second component of SECARB’s two-part, large-scale injection study. Each of the DOE’s seven regional partnerships is conducting at least one large-volume CO2 storage field test as part of the development phase of the partnerships program. The large-volume tests seek to promote understanding of injectivity, capacity, and storability of CO2 in the various geologic formations identified by the partnerships.

Southern Co., meanwhile, manages and operates the DOE’s recently established National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC). With partners that include American Electric Power, Luminant, Arch Coal, Peabody Energy, and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the partnership will conduct tests on both precombustion and postcombustion carbon capture technologies at the Power Systems Development Facility (PSDF) south of Birmingham, Ala.

Existing facilities at the PSDF are expected to be modified to conduct the precombustion CO2 capture component of the NCCC project, while new facilities to conduct postcombustion testing and evaluation will be built on the site of Plant Gaston, a coal-fueled generating plant adjacent to the PSDF, and which is operated by Southern Co. subsidiary Alabama Power.

The NCCC is expected to be fully operational in 2010.

Source: DOE, SECARB, Southern Co.