Mississippi Power continues to struggle to get its Kemper Project clean coal power plant operational. None of the issues keeping the facility from getting up and running have easy solutions.
The challenges include:
Operational costs that make mothballing the gasifiers and associated equipment and running the turbines on natural gas an increasingly attractive alternative.
The need for more nitrogen gas for startup than Kemper’s on-site plant can provide.
The problem-plagued coal-feed system that crushes, filters and dries out high-moisture lignite coal mined on site before supplying it to the facility’s two gasifiers.
Issues with the ash removal system, which eliminates ash from the drying coal before it heads to the gasifier.
The refractory coatings of the two gasifiers that protect the thin metal shell from the 1,800-degree heat and pressure required to turn lignite into a natural gas-like substance called synthesis gas to fuel Kemper’s electricity-generating turbines.
The plant needs to be reliably operational to fully test the gas cleanup system that removes 65 percent of the carbon dioxide from the syngas stream, along with sulfuric acid, anhydrous ammonia, for sale to off-site customers.
Mississippi Power’s monthly filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission don’t go into great detail on why Kemper is struggling to reach operational status. More detail can be found in the monthly independent monitor reports by engineering firm URS, which was hired by the Mississippi Public Service Commission to be its eyes and ears on the Kemper Project site.