Southern Co., KBR partner on advanced coal gasification technology

Source: Southern Company
TRIG Demonstration Unit at Wilsonville, Alabama
Full-scale, commercial implementation of TRIG™ technology to produce 600 MWe power in Mississippi, USA. The IGCC project for Mississippi Power is based on lignite coal gasification and will employ two KBR TRIG™ gasifiers operating in air-blown mode to produce clean coal energy.

Southern Company  (NYSE: SO) – through subsidiary Southern Generation Technologies, LLC – and KBR, LLC, (NYSE: KBR) of Houston, Texas, have formed an alliance to market 21st century coal technology, Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIG™), to power companies worldwide. This innovative coal gasification process can provide power companies an efficient means to generate electricity using an abundant, low-cost fuel – low-rank coal – while significantly reducing carbon emissions. The technology, which was developed by Southern Company and KBR under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), can support coal-based generation with carbon dioxide emissions comparable to those of a natural gas plant, providing a viable solution for clean coal generation in the U.S. and around the world.

Through this partnership, Southern Company and KBR will contribute their proven technical and marketing expertise, respectively, capitalizing on each company's strengths in expanding TRIG™ technology to worldwide markets.

"Through the development of TRIG™ technology, we've found a way to preserve coal as an important, low-carbon energy resource for America," said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. "By leveraging this example of American energy innovation worldwide, we will help ensure more customers have access to clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy produced by an abundant and underutilized coal resource."

More than half of the world's coal reserves consist of low-rank coal, such as lignite and sub-bituminous coal – the types that TRIG™ was developed to utilize. China alone is expected to add more than 300,000 megawatts (MW) of new coal-based generating capacity by 2035, while India and other parts of Asia are projected to add more than 100,000 MW in that same time frame. As electricity demand around the world continues to grow, TRIG™ is particularly suited to be part of the portfolio of technologies that can cleanly meet customers' energy needs while utilizing low-cost, abundant fuel resources.

In the U.S., Mississippi Power, a Southern Company subsidiary, is using TRIG™ as the basis for its state-of-the-art integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) facility under construction in Kemper County, Miss. An abundance of Mississippi lignite located adjacent to the plant site will be gasified to create clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy for customers for the next 40 years. Since emission controls are built into the coal gasification process, the project is expected to have fewer sulfur dioxide, particulate and mercury emissions than traditional pulverized coal technology while capturing at least 65 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced, with resulting CO2 emissions comparable to those of a similarly sized natural gas plant.

TRIG™ technology incorporates numerous design and efficiency features that significantly improve a facility's cost, reliability and emissions performance, as well as water withdrawal requirements, compared with traditional coal-fired generation.

In the case of the Kemper County project, the byproducts are expected to significantly offset the cost of the fuel of the plant. For example, the carbon captured at the Kemper County energy facility will assist in enhanced oil recovery, enabling the production of more domestically sourced oil and increasing America's energy security when the IGCC facility enters service, scheduled for 2014. Enhanced oil recovery is a well-established method for increasing oil production by injecting CO2 into depleted oil wells to force more oil out of the ground.

As part of a diverse portfolio of energy resources, TRIG™ technology can be designed and configured to help meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules.

With the signing of this agreement, KBR acquires exclusive global licensing rights for power generation in addition to its existing rights in industrial applications of TRIG™. Southern Company will provide engineering and technology expertise and draw on its operations experience in support of KBR's sales, marketing, licensing and design efforts.

"This new collaboration between KBR and Southern Company will utilize the respective strengths of each organization to deploy commercial TRIG™ licensed processes worldwide and accelerate the adoption of TRIG™ in the marketplace," said Bill Utt, KBR chairman, president and chief executive officer. "It brings to bear the best of KBR's global technology sales and delivery focus and Southern Company's technology and operations experience to deliver the most comprehensive, innovative, low-rank coal gasifier and IGCC combination available."

The DOE-sponsored project that led to the development of TRIG™ technology is an example of America's longstanding commitment to finding meaningful solutions through innovation.

Prior to this agreement, Southern Company and KBR licensed TRIG™ to the Tian Ming Electric Power Company for a facility under construction in China.

Through its ongoing commitment to energy innovation through proprietary research and development, Southern Company is advancing the full energy portfolio, or "all the arrows in the quiver" – 21st century coal, new nuclear, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency.

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