Coal-to-gas technology heading to China

GUANDONG, CHINA - Southern Co said that a Chinese utility will utilize its coal-gasification technology at an existing power plant to produce low-emission electricity.

The technology, called Transport Integrated Gasification, or TRIG, has been under development for the past decade by Atlanta-based Southern Co, KBR Inc, the U.S. Department of Energy and other partners at an Alabama research facility operated by Southern.

Under the terms of a technology licensing arrangement, the companies will provide Beijing Guoneng Yinghui Clean Energy Engineering Co Ltd with licensing, engineering and equipment to use the TRIG design at a 120-megawatt power plant operated by Dongguan Tianming Electric Power Co Ltd in Guandong Province of the Peoples Republic of China, according to a release.

Southern said this will mark the first commercial implementation of the TRIG technology, an advanced integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) design that converts coal to synthetic gas that can be stripped of pollutants before being burned in a combustion turbine to produce electricity.

"China's rapid growth vividly demonstrates the global need for advanced technologies to ensure reliable, affordable and cleaner supplies of energy," said Southern Co Chief Executive David Ratcliffe in a statement.

A Southern Co unit, Mississippi Power Co, also plans to use the TRIG technology at a 582-MW IGCC plant proposed in Kemper County, Mississippi, where plans call for sequestration of 65 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted by the plant.

At the Chinese facility, TRIG technology will be added to an existing gas-fired, combined cycle plant so that it can use synthetic gas from coal as its fuel to replace fuel oil, the release said. Commercial operation is expected in 2011.



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