Technology intrigues Norwegian visitors

Technology intrigues Norwegian visitors


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By Natalie Campen

The Kemper County energy facility impressed a dozen energy leaders from Norway, the Netherlands and Germany as the group toured the site of Mississippi Power’s innovative, 21st century project last week.

Like Mississippi Power, the Norwegian government, public researchers and private companies are exploring new technologies to use fossil fuel more efficiently and with less impact on the environment. The tour followed a successful visit by Tord Lien, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, who accompanied U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz to the Kemper facility last year.

Mississippi Power Vice President of Generation Development John Huggins provided an overview of the project, its benefits and the need for fuel diversity. Huggins reminded the visitors they were in “serious football country, so we like to use a lot of football references around here.” Describing Mississippi Power’s commitment to success of the Kemper project, Huggins said, “Our goal is to be national champions.”

The group of engineers, scientists and policy makers listened intently to the technical briefing on technology by Kerry Bowers, Southern Company technology licensing director. Bowers’ presentation included animation illustrating the basic operation of the lignite gasification process. The visitors took notes and asked detailed questions about design, costs, efficiency and marketing of the technology.

An hour-long bus tour of the Kemper facility, highlighted construction design and safety features.

David Hardin, startup manager, pointed out various components of the facility, like the lignite dome and the operation of the dragline at the Liberty Mine.