TVA studies carbon capture technology at natural gas plants

Staff file photo / The Tennessee Valley Authority building is shown in downtown Chattanooga in 2016.

The Tennessee Valley Authority with partner TC Energy will invest $1.25 million to study ways to capture carbon at two TVA natural gas plants.

Joe Hoagland, TVA's vice president of innovation research, said TVA will conduct a feasibility study at its gas facilities in Ackerman, Mississippi, and Drakesboro, Kentucky, to determine the costs, technical challenges and operational effects of carbon capture technology.

"TVA is a clean energy leader, and we are focused on reducing carbon emissions in an efficient and cost-effective manner," Hoagland said in an announcement this week of the study. "Exploring all available technologies to eliminate carbon will allow us to move faster as we work to be net-zero by 2050."

Carbon capture works by sending the exhaust from natural gas power facilities to a carbon dioxide scrubber adjacent to the plant, where a chemical reaction absorbs the carbon dioxide before the exhaust is released into the air. The carbon dioxide is then pumped to another vessel and treated with heat that releases it, Hoagland said. This released carbon dioxide is compressed and sent deep into the earth for safe storage.

"This public-private partnership is made possible by a shared vision of safely moving toward a reliable and sustainable low-carbon future," said Omar Khayum, a vice president for TC Energy, a natural gas pipeline company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner