Idea Power: Carbon Capture 101
Carbon capture is one of the newest tools in the effort to reduce greenhouse gases and fight global warming. As good stewards of the environment, Southern Company is proud to be leading the way for this new industry technology at the world’s largest carbon capture project at Plant Barry in South Alabama. By capturing carbon dioxide from coal plants and sequestering it in porous areas of the earth, we have the power to save the annual energy equivalent of 20,000 homes from being released into the atmosphere.
Here’s a step-by-step look at how it works.
The Four-Step Process
Step 1: An amine solvent is used to capture carbon dioxide from the coal-powered plant’s flue gas.
Step 2: The carbon-dioxide gas is then compressed at a high pressure until it achieves liquid form.
Step 3: The liquid carbon dioxide then travels by pipeline to a geologically sound area for sequestration. In the case of Plant Barry, the liquid travels roughly 10 – 12 miles to a depleted oil field located in Citronelle, Alabama.
Step 4: Upon arrival, the liquid carbon dioxide is injected into a flat geological formation that has reservoirs and good cap rocks to properly sequester the substance. Depleted oil and gas reservoirs like this one in Citronelle often make good candidates for the storage. Here, the pressure of the earth keeps the carbon dioxide in a liquidized form where it can safely be stored for thousands of years.
This carbon capture project and other resource-conscious practices are a part of Southern Company’s commitment to being responsible stewards of our environment.