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Andlinger Center News

December 10, 2014

Southern Company, a leading energy company serving more than 4.4 million customers in the Southeastern United States, has joined Princeton University’s Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership (E-ffiliates) in a collaboration to pursue advances in areas of energy and the environment.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome Southern Company as our newest member of Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership,” said Lynn Loo, the associate director for external partnerships of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and the leader of the E-ffiliates program. “Southern Company is already working with the Energy Systems Analysis Group at Princeton on low-carbon energy systems and has collaborated with faculty in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering on submissions for E-ffiliates seed funding for innovative research proposals.”

Eric Larson, a senior research engineer with the Energy Systems Analysis Group of Princeton Environmental Institute, reiterated the importance of this collaboration. “Southern Company is a strong supporter of sustainable energy research and development, and has the interest, expertise and capability to commercialize new sustainable energy solutions,” Larson said.

Collaborative work with Southern Company started 15 years ago when the company supported a project Larson led to analyze new technologies and strategies for integrating sustainable production of electricity and fuels from biomass with the production of paper pulp. Larson said the work helped catalyze the development of advanced gasification technology that is now operating in a commercial demonstration in Sweden.

“As an industry leader in researching and developing energy technologies, Southern Company is very pleased to join Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership,” said Dr. Larry S. Monroe, senior vice president for research and environmental affairs and chief environmental officer for Southern Company. “We look forward to collaborating with Princeton researchers and other E-ffiliates members on advanced energy and environmental projects, which we are confident will produce innovative results for customers.”

Current work with Southern Company focuses on understanding and articulating the feasibility of low-lifecycle carbon footprint systems that would produce clean electricity and transportation fuels by co-processing sustainable biomass with coal. The process would include capturing byproduct carbon dioxide (CO2) and storing it underground. Larson said Southern Company subsidiary Mississippi Power is constructing an advanced power plant with CO2 capture that will produce 582 megawatts of electricity from lignite coal in Mississippi. The project is to capture 65 percent of the CO2 produced, with resulting carbon emissions better than a similarly sized natural gas plant.

“Our current partnership with Southern Company is seeking to illuminate a next generation of such low-carbon energy systems,” Larson said.

The partnership exemplifies the value that comes from combining academic and industry resources to address critical societal issues such as sustainable energy, Loo said. “Through E-ffiliates membership, Southern Company will have access to many aspects of energy-related research on campus to build even stronger collaborations as we work towards a clean energy future.”

Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership is a membership-based program that promotes innovation in the fields of energy and the environment through collaborations between academia and industry. It is administered by Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, in partnership with the Princeton Environmental Institute, the School of Architecture, and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Southern Company joins E-ffiliates members DuPont, Lockheed Martin Corporation, PSEG, Arch(e)wild and Power Survey Company.