Visitors to Kemper praise its global potential

Visitors to Kemper praise its global potential

APEC members learn about the innovative technology of the Kemper County energy facility
APEC members learn about the innovative technology of the Kemper County energy facility

The promise of dramatically reducing carbon emissions and using the world’s most abundant type of coal for more energy production brought another group of international visitors to Kemper County.

Members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation spent two days in east Mississippi to tour Mississippi Power’s Kemper County energy facility and hold a series of workshops primarily focused on Southern Company and Mississippi Power’s innovative carbon capture technology which is poised to be applied commercially next year when the Kemper County energy facility begins commercial operation.

“This technology can be very important for improving the environment in China,” said Pang Guanglian, secretary general and senior economist for the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation.

Pang said China faces significant air quality challenges, particularly in Beijing. Guanglian was one of about 40 participants in the tour at Kemper. Along with China, the tour included representatives from the United States, Mexico, Japan and a host of Pacific Rim nations interested in not only Southern Company’s innovative carbon capture technology, but also its patented gasification process. The process – transport integrated gasification or TRIG – is the first in the world capable of turning low-grade, high-moisture coal into power, and use captured carbon for enhanced oil recovery.

“Many of these economies are seeing a decline in their oil production and some of these economies depend heavily on revenue from oil production, and the purpose of these meetings is both carbon management and energy security,” said Craig Hart, associate professor at Renmin University in China.

“China is both a producer and consumer of technology,” Hart continued. “So the ability to use, buy or partner with regard to technology would, for them, be a boon but also be beneficial for U.S. companies to be profitable and helpful to the broader societal goals in the long term.”

Despite the diversity of language and background, APEC Kemper workshop participants were linked by the common belief that technology can address the environmental challenges facing the globe, and ensure that readily available fuel sources, like lignite coal, can be used cleanly, responsibly and affordably.

Pamela Tomski, of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute based in Australia said even on her third trip to Kemper, the facility continues to impress.

“It’s amazing,” Tomski declared. “It’s an engineering beauty. Everyone is looking at the Kemper plant. Mississippi has an opportunity to be showcased on the global stage. The whole world sees it as a first of its kind facility that’s going to set an example for the rest of the world on how to burn coal more cleanly and without CO2 emissions.”