Focus & Recent Advancements
Electric utilities face an array of challenges and opportunities in this fast-shifting landscape driven by new regulations, changing customer priorities, and unpredictable economic drivers. New approaches like energy efficiency to reduce customer energy use and construction of emission-free solar power plants are gaining acceptance. In spite of all these changes, fossil energy production from combustion of coal, natural gas, and oil remains a dominant source of domestic electricity production, representing 67% of domestic electricity generation in 2015 and 40% of global carbon emissions. And with China and India building roughly one coal plant every week, fossil energy will continue to play a significant role in electricity generation worldwide. This global reality means that we must continue to advance the state of fossil energy technologies if we are to achieve global carbon emission reduction targets of 80% by 2050.
Southern Research is working to develop technologies that reduce the environmental impacts of fossil energy production and drive down costs. We are actively engaged with our partners to develop new carbon capture technologies, optimize trace metal (e.g. mercury) emission control technologies, reduce water consumption, convert coal to liquid fuels, and improve combustion efficiency to reduce carbon emissions.
Capabilities and Expertise
SR has a strong history of developing and licensing technology. We employ experts in a variety of fields critical to advanced fossil technology development including catalysis, gasification, combustion, materials, and chemistry. These experts are working on technologies to: 1) reduce emissions of pollutants such as SO2, NOx, trace metals, CO2, particulate matter, 2) reuse or convert CO2 and fly ash for beneficial use, and 3) improve efficiency of coal or natural gas fired power plants. Our group has the capability to independently validate new technologies, develop new technologies, and consult on a wide-range of topics (e.g. market analysis, techno-economic analysis, lifecycle assessment, benchmarking).