Southern Co. unit Southern Generation Technologies has signed a letter of intent with South Korean company Alps Energy and Kellogg, Brown & Root to evaluate the deployment of the company's proprietary coal gasification technology at the new, 1,000 MW Alps Energy power plant in the Saemangeum Industry & Research Area in South Korea.
The agreement underscores the significant international interest in Transport Integrated Gasification – or TRIG – the 21st century coal technology at the center of Southern Co. unit Mississippi Power's Kemper County energy facility.
Jointly developed by Southern Co. and KBR, TRIG is designed to generate electricity from low-rank coal with resulting carbon emissions better than a similarly sized natural gas plant. At least 65 percent of the Kemper project's carbon emissions are expected to be captured and repurposed through enhanced oil recovery, increasing domestic oil production.
"Southern Co. is committed to developing real solutions to efficiently generate electricity using all of our domestic energy resources," said Southern Co. Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. "By deploying TRIG for the first time at the Kemper County energy facility, we are creating a better energy future and improving America's energy security. Our partnership with South Korea's Alps Energy is a continuation of our long-standing commitment to delivering energy solutions that can benefit customers and communities across the U.S. and around the world."
The letter of intent was announced following a visit this week to the Kemper County energy facility involving Southern Co., Alps Energy, KBR and Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency leadership.
"Alps is very excited to have entered into this agreement with Southern Co. and KBR, who are global leaders in gasification and have successfully demonstrated fluidized bed gasifiers over many decades. We very much look forward to seeing successful initial operations of the Kemper County energy facility and to explore various opportunities to work together with the TRIG team in our landmark gasification project in Saemangeum," said Alps Group Chairman Kwang-Ouk Bang.
The 582 MW Kemper County energy facility will become the first power plant to use TRIG technology upon its completion in 2016.
"The world is coming to Kemper because the design of this plant signifies the ability for other nations to leverage one of the world's most abundant energy sources in a dramatically cleaner way," said Mississippi Power CEO Ed Holland. "For Mississippi, this means more reliable, affordable energy for our customers and a cleaner environment for us all, making our state a true global leader in energy development."
The first letter of intent to explore TRIG deployment, the agreement with Alps Energy represents the sixth agreement with a leading international energy company to explore advanced technologies including TRIG. Earlier this year, Southern Co. Services and Korea Electric Power Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding to explore 21st century coal technology. Last year, Southern Co. announced similar agreements with Shenhua Group Corp. and China Huaneng Group – two of China's largest energy companies – as well as with Huaneng Clean Energy Research Institute.
Beyond these agreements, Southern Co. continues to receive worldwide interest in TRIG from energy companies in regions with access to abundant supplies of low-rank coal. In addition to playing an important role in the development of TRIG technology, KBR is the company's partner in licensing TRIG technology globally.