French major energy player Total joins National Carbon Capture Center

Continuing its international engagement in technology innovation, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Carbon Capture Center – which is managed and operated by Southern Company – has welcomed French major energy player Total as a new member.

Total is the second major oil and gas producer to sponsor the center – following ExxonMobil in 2018 – and its membership reflects the center’s growing focus on advancing carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) solutions for natural gas-based power generation. Active in more than 130 countries, Total produces and markets fuels, natural gas and low-carbon electricity.

“Total aspires to become a major player in CCUS technologies, which are vital to achieving carbon neutrality in the second half of the century,” said Samuel Lethier, Total carbon capture research and development project manager. “We are delighted to be part of the National Carbon Capture Center as it provides the tools, expertise and infrastructure to test and evaluate next-generation carbon capture technologies.”

The National Carbon Capture Center serves as a neutral research facility to advance technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-based power plants. Third-party developers bring their technologies to the facility for real-world testing – a key step in bridging the gap between the lab and commercial-scale demonstrations.

Through the evaluation of over 60 technologies, the National Carbon Capture Center has already reduced the projected cost of carbon capture from fossil generation by one-third. The facility is currently adding infrastructure to expand testing of carbon capture technologies for natural gas power plants.

“The duality of flue gas sources available at the center brings a span of compositions, which provide a strong baseline to understand the effectiveness and robustness of technologies to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from power plants, as well as other CO2-intensive industries such as cement and steel,” said Lethier.

“We are honored to welcome Total into our group of project sponsors, organizations that are committed to finding technology solutions for a low-carbon energy future,” said John Northington, National Carbon Capture Center director. “Advancing cost-effective carbon capture technologies is critical in providing clean, safe, reliable, affordable energy. With Total’s participation, we look forward to deepening the effectiveness and value of our research.”

In addition to Total, partners of the National Carbon Capture Center include DOE and its National Energy Technology Laboratory, American Electric Power, ClearPath, the Electric Power Research Institute, ExxonMobil, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Tennessee Valley Authority, Peabody and Wyoming Infrastructure Authority.

Since its creation by DOE, the National Carbon Capture Center has worked with more than 30 organizations from seven countries to evaluate and scale up emerging carbon capture technologies. In 2019, the facility marked its 10th year of technology development.