Skip to main content.

Sustainable Technologies

Southern Company R&D invents, shapes and accelerates emerging energy technologies to improve the lives of customers and build the future of energy. Our diverse research portfolio explores a full spectrum of solutions to address the energy industry’s greatest challenges.

Building Smart Neighborhoods

These first-of-a-kind Smart Neighborhoods are real-world R&D projects within Southern Company’s footprint designed to help inform how energy could be produced, delivered and consumed in the future. Southern Company, its electric operating companies and key partners are researching what technologies will be commonplace in the average home in 2040. The neighborhoods provide customers with state-of-the-art home construction, distributed energy resources – like battery energy storage and solar – as well as smart home appliances and technologies. Project partners include the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Institute and key technology vendors.




Breakthroughs in next generation carbon management




National Carbon Capture Center

The National Carbon Capture Center is finding breakthroughs in next-generation carbon management technologies. Managed and operated by Southern Company, our world-class facility works with innovators from around the world to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and industrial sources – and to promote carbon conversion and direct air capture solutions.






Developing fourth-generation nuclear reactor technology




Terra Power

Southern Company, TerraPower and the U.S. Department of Energy are playing a leading role in developing fourth-generation nuclear reactor technologyThe joint project has completed installation of the Integrated Effects Test, marking a crucial milestone in the development of the first-of-a-kind Molten Chloride Fast Reactor (MCFR). The test is the world’s largest chloride salt system developed by the nuclear sector. The project culminates years of separate effects testing and is expected to demonstrate how the MCFR technology will perform in delivering a commercial-scale, cost-effective, carbon-free molten salt reactor energy source by 2035.






Accelerate development of low-carbon energy technologies





Southern Company has signed on as an anchor sponsor of the low-carbon R&D joint venture, LCRI, that partners the Electric Power Research Institute with the Gas Technology Institute (GTI). The collaboration between the electric and gas sectors aims to advance global, economywide deep carbon reductions. The goal of the five-year initiative is to accelerate the development and demonstration of pathways to low-carbon energy technologies, such as hydrogen, renewable natural gas and bioenergy for large-scale development.






Advancing new technologies and business model innovations to the energy industry




Energy Impact Partners

Southern Company is a founding partner and the chair of Energy Impact Partners, the utility-backed venture capital fund with over $2 billion in assets under management.The fund conducts extensive research to identify emerging startup companies that are advancing new technologies or business model innovations of strategic relevance to the energy industry. Through our investment we collaborate with industry peers with the collective goal of finding solutions to drive new revenue growth, uncover operational efficiencies and meet our customers’ evolving energy needs.


How Southern Company is Investing in the Future of Energy




Developing next-generation clean hydrogen technologies




Department of Energy

Developing Next-Generation Clean Hydrogen Technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded Southern Company R&D funding for the Novel Microbial Electrolysis System for Conversion of Biowastes into Low-Cost Renewable Hydrogen project. Southern Company Gas will lead the project and collaborate with partners, Electro-Active Technologies and T2M Global, to advance a technology for production of clean hydrogen from waste. The project’s approach targets distributed generation of hydrogen from food waste, diverting the waste from landfills and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions from the food value chain and the transportation sector.

Reflecting its goal of achieving net zero operations while providing customers and communities with affordable, reliable and resilient energy, Southern Company announced it has joined the Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led coalition of companies with a united vision and long-term ambition for hydrogen to foster the clean energy transition.


Demonstrating Fuel Blending of Hydrogen and Natural Gas

Georgia Power and Mitsubishi Power, alongside the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), recently validated fuel blending of hydrogen and natural gas at both partial and full load on an M501G natural gas turbine at Georgia Power’s Plant McDonough-Atkinson in Smyrna, Georgia. The demonstration project was the first to validate 20%* hydrogen fuel blending on an advanced class gas turbine in North America, and the largest test of this kind to date, with the 20% blend providing an approximately 7% reduction in carbon emissions compared to natural gas.



Researching Natural Gas Infrastructure Solutions Through HyBlend

Southern Company Gas helped launch a new R&D initiative known as HyBlend to address the technical barriers to blending hydrogen in natural gas infrastructure and to study the greenhouse gas emissions of hydrogen blends. The $15 million research fund utilizes expertise and collaboration across industry partners, research consortia, academia and six national laboratories to address critical areas of hydrogen research. Southern Company’s participation in HyBlend is one of several R&D initiatives it has underway investigating hydrogen’s potential.




Leading Energy Storage Deployment

Southern Company is advancing energy storage as an effective, technically viable solution through a comprehensive portfolio of battery storage R&D projects – including the Energy Storage Research Center and the Alabama Power and Georgia Power Smart Neighborhoods. Energy storage systems have the potential to add more renewables to the grid, improve resiliency and reliability, increase the implementation of distributed energy and microgrids, and improve operational flexibility of the grid – while creating value for customers. In 2020, the Edison Electric Institute awarded Southern Company the electric utility industry's most prestigious honor – the Edison Award – for its portfolio of energy storage R&D initiatives.