A World First: Coal-Fired Plant Barry Begins Underground Storage of CO2

U.S. Department of Energy (NETL) Release
27 August 2012

Carbon dioxide (CO2) injection has begun at the world’s first fully integrated coal power and geologic storage project in southwest Alabama, with the goals of assessing integration of the technologies involved and laying the foundation for future use of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

The Anthropogenic Test, conducted by the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB), uses CO2 from a newly constructed post-combustion CO2-capture facility at Alabama Power’s 2,657-megawatt coal-fired Barry Electric Generating Plant (Plant Barry). It will help demonstrate the feasibility of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), considered by most energy experts as an important option for meeting the challenge of helping to reduce atmospheric CO2 emissions linked to potential climate change.

In a unique process developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a small amount of flue gas from Plant Barry—equivalent to the amount produced when generating 25 megawatts of electricity—is being diverted from the plant and captured using Mitsubishi’s advanced amine process to produce a nearly pure stream of CO2.

Once captured, the CO2 is transported approximately 12 miles west to the southern flank of a geologic structure called the Citronelle Dome, within the Paluxy saline formation. A pipeline was constructed for this purpose in 2011. The Paluxy is an ideal site for injection because it is more than 9,000 feet underground and is overlain by multiple geologic confining units that serve as barriers to prevent CO2 from escaping.

Carbon dioxide injection will take place over 2 years at a rate of up to 550 metric tons of CO2 per day. Multiple monitoring technologies will be deployed to track the CO2 plume, measure the pressure front, evaluate CO2 trapping mechanisms, and ensure that the CO2 remains in the formation. In 2017, following 3 years of post-injection monitoring, the site will be closed. At that time, the wells will either be plugged and abandoned