A carbon capture and storage demonstration project has begun underground injection of carbon dioxide recovered from emissions of a US coal fired power plant.

The demonstration project – run by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and US utility Southern Company – is capturing and compressing CO2 from the flue gas of Southern’s Plant Barry in the state of Alabama, and storing it in a saline formation at a depth of 3000-3400 metres in the Citronelle Dome, 12 miles from the plant.

The storage aspect of the project is being conducted as Phase III of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships programme, sponsored by the US Department of Energy.

The volume of CO2 injection, which got under way following approval by the Alabama state government, has been progressively expanded and now reached the full-scale target of 500 mtpd.

In the project, MHI is responsible for basic planning, engineering, core equipment supply, and provision of technology support.

The facility consists primarily of a flue-gas scrubber, flue-gas CO2 capture/re-generation system, CO2 compression machinery, and electrical components. For CO2 recovery the facility adopts the KM CDR Process, which uses a proprietary KS-1 high-performance solvent for CO2 absorption and desorption that was jointly developed by MHI and Kansai Electric Power Co.

Southern Company is one of the largest energy companies in the US, with a generating capacity of more than 42 000 MW serving 4.4 million customers.