Coal, Gas, New Projects

Kemper County Coal Gasification Plant Closer to Commercial Operation

Mississippi Power today announced it has started producing syngas using the second gasifier at the Kemper County energy facility, another important step toward the project’s commercial operation.

Syngas is created when the locally-mined lignite is heated at high temperatures in the plant’s gasifiers, converting the coal to gas. The syngas, which is used similarly to natural gas, will produce electricity through the plant’s combustion turbines.

“This is another exciting step toward commercial operation of Kemper,” said Mississippi Power Chairman, President and CEO Anthony L. Wilson. “Accomplishing this milestone on the second gasifier is key to the project’s completion.”

The company announced on July 15 that the project had produced syngas using the first gasifier, demonstrating the viability of the Transport Integrated Gasification (TRIG) technology which is being used for the first time at commercial scale at the facility. TRIG was developed by Southern Company, KBR and the U.S. Department of Energy in Wilsonville, Ala. over the past two decades at the Power Systems Development Facility, a research facility operated in partnership between the DOE and Southern Company.

During the coming weeks, the Kemper team will be focused on proceeding toward operation at sustained capacity levels necessary for completion of the activities for the initial operations and testing of the syngas clean-up systems and the production of electricity using syngas. Ahead of using the syngas as fuel, it will be burned off using the plant’s flare stacks.

In August, the utility announced it had pushed back the project’s completion date by a month, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 31. The company said the extension will add another $43 million to the cost of construction. The total cost of the Kemper County plant is $6.8 billion.