Atlanta-based Southern Company says that it has moved a step closer to the commercial deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology by capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from one of its power plants for the first time.

The US utility has announced that a pilot-scale carbon capture plant at the Yates power plant in Georgia state captured a small amount of CO2 and returned it to the plant’s flue gas. The project is part of plans to develop a 25 MW demonstration plant in Alabama state that will capture carbon dioxide as well as compress it and transport it via a pipeline to deep underground storage formations.

“Capturing CO2 from an operating power plant is an important step forward in our efforts to develop effective and cost-efficient technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions while ensuring a continued reliable and affordable supply of electricity for our customers,” said Chris Hobson, Southern Company chief environmental officer. “Along with our other carbon capture and storage research initiatives, our success here will help us move closer to the ultimate goal of commercial deployment.”

The carbon capture system at plant Yates uses a post-combustion solvent-based technology developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). Both Southern and MHI will use results from the project to make additional process improvements to the technology before it is scaled up.

Southern Company is a participant in several major research initiatives to advance the development of carbon capture and storage technology. The test at plant Yates will help confirm MHI’s emission-control design and provide other findings important to the much larger-scale work next year at the plant Barry test, which represents one of the industry’s largest demonstrations of a start-to-finish power plant carbon capture and storage system.