ATLANTA, July 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company (NYSE: SO) today announced that subsidiary Mississippi Power has started producing syngas using lignite at the Kemper County energy facility – the most significant milestone at the plant to date.
The successful production of syngas demonstrates the viability of the Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIG™) technology, which is being used for the first time at commercial scale at the state-of-the-art facility, and will be combined with the other major systems to eventually produce power.
"This is a major achievement for the Kemper project, and I am very proud of everyone who has worked safely and tirelessly to overcome challenges and reach this important point," said Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson. "Producing syngas from Mississippi's own abundant natural resource – lignite – should be encouraging to our customers, communities and energy companies around the world. This proves that Kemper's technology can provide a way forward for coal and puts us a step closer to full plant operation."
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.
When fully operational, the plant is designed to not only generate electricity, but also to capture marketable products from the syngas like carbon dioxide, which is expected to be used for enhanced oil recovery – a process through which CO2 is safely and permanently injected into the ground to extract the fuel from depleted oil fields.
About Mississippi Power
Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for more than 186,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power earned the 2015 ReliabilityOne™ Award for outstanding midsize utility for excellence in storm restoration and recovery efforts as well as being a leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at mississippipower.com and mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.
About Southern Company
Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is America's premier energy company, with 44,000 megawatts of generating capacity and 1,500 billion cubic feet of combined natural gas consumption and throughput volume serving 9 million electric and gas utility customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric utilities in four states, natural gas distribution utilities in seven states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America and a nationally recognized provider of customized energy solutions, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices that are below the national average. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation, Southern Company and its subsidiaries are inventing America's energy future by developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, 21st century coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency, and creating new products and services for the benefit of customers. Southern Company has been named by the U.S. Department of Defense and G.I. Jobs magazine as a top military employer, recognized among the Top 50 Companies for Diversity by DiversityInc, listed by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the 40 Best Companies for Diversity and designated a Top Employer for Hispanics by Hispanic Network. The company has earned a National Award of Nuclear Science and History from the National Atomic Museum Foundation for its leadership and commitment to nuclear development and is continually ranked among the top utilities in Fortune's annual World's Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility rankings. Visit our website at www.southerncompany.com.
Certain information contained in this communication is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning the projected schedule for the completion of construction and start-up of the integrated coal gasification combined cycle project in Kemper County, Mississippi (the "Kemper IGCC"). Southern Company and Mississippi Power caution that there are certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Southern Company and Mississippi Power; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Southern Company's and Mississippi Power's Annual Reports on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: changes in tax and other laws and regulations to which Mississippi Power is subject as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; the ability to control costs and avoid cost overruns during the development and construction of facilities, which include the development and construction of generating facilities with designs that have not been finalized or previously constructed, including changes in labor costs and productivity, adverse weather conditions, shortages and inconsistent quality of equipment, materials, and labor, contractor or supplier delay, non-performance under operating or other agreements, operational readiness, including specialized operator training and required site safety programs, unforeseen engineering or design problems, start-up activities (including major equipment failure and system integration), and/or operational performance (including additional costs to satisfy any operational parameters ultimately adopted by the Mississippi Public Service Commission ("PSC")); the ability to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses, to satisfy any environmental performance standards and the requirements of tax credits and other incentives, and to integrate facilities into the Southern Company system upon completion of construction; advances in technology; actions related to cost recovery for the Kemper IGCC, including the ultimate impact of the 2015 decision of the Mississippi Supreme Court, the Mississippi PSC's December 2015 rate order, and related legal or regulatory proceedings, Mississippi PSC review of the prudence of Kemper IGCC costs and approval of further permanent rate recovery plans, actions relating to proposed securitization, satisfaction of requirements to utilize grants, and the ultimate impact of the termination of the proposed sale of an interest in the Kemper IGCC to South Mississippi Electric Power Association; and the ability of counterparties of Mississippi Power to make payments as and when due and to perform as required. Southern Company and Mississippi Power expressly disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking information.