Canadian group gets close up look at Kemper technology

Canadian group gets close up look at Kemper technology

Canadian visitors learn about the Kemper project before touring the plant.
Canadian visitors learn about the Kemper project before touring the plant.

A collaboration centered on a cleaner future for coal brought representatives from the Canadian Consulate, the Saskatchewan Provincial Government and representatives of SASKPower to Mississippi Power’s Kemper County energy facility March 10.

Since its commissioning in October, SASKPower has operated the world’s only post-combustion coal-fired carbon-capture power generation facility.

SASK’s Boundary Dam power plant doesn’t gasify coal or capture carbon dioxide before combustion as the Kemper plant will do, but Boundary Dam does represent the world’s first foray into carbon capture for a conventional coal-fired facility.

“We’re actually getting more power out of our facility than the business case called for,” Ian Yeates, SASK vice president said. “We’ve only been up and running since October 2014, so we were a little late, but it’s going well. I would fully expect the Kemper plant to need at least 12 to 18 months to tune the plant, make sure everything is running properly and deal with unexpected issues. It’s inevitable for a plant of this nature, but I also have no doubt it’s going to work properly.”

In addition to touring the Kemper plant, the delegation visited facilities in Mississippi involved in enhanced oil recovery where captured carbon dioxide from the Kemper County energy facility will be used for even more energy production.

Delegates said Saskatchewan derives about 44 percent of its electricity from coal, which is the province’s most abundant and cheapest energy source.

“I’ve represented Saskatchewan on the energy council for several years, and I’ve always heard about Kemper,” Fred Bradshaw, a member of Saskatchewan’s Legislative Assembly said. “We’ve got a large supply of coal in the world, and we’re going to have to have power. If we’re going to move the world forward we have to have coal in the mix, and it’ll have to be in the mix for a number of years. Given the way our respective federal governments are putting more regulations on carbon emissions, projects like these have to be initiated.”

The tour, sponsored by Southern Company and the Mississippi Energy Institute, followed a visit to SASKPower’s Boundary Dam project which opened last fall. In addition to Kemper, the delegation will attend a carbon capture conference in Atlanta before visiting Southern Company’s carbon capture and gasification research facilities near Birmingham.

The Kemper project will capture carbon dioxide pre-combustion – during the process of turning lignite coal into synthesis gas. That gas will then be used to generate power.

Captured carbon dioxide in both projects is expected to boost oil production through enhanced oil recovery. Mississippi Power has contracts in place to sell captured carbon dioxide to oil companies in the state which are expected increase Mississippi oil output by two million barrels a year.