First Large-Scale Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage Facility Under Construction

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ADM drill rig in Decatur

It’s not the biggest step, even though it’s a first step at capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide emissions.

Last week, ground was broken in Decatur, Il on construction of this country’s first large-scale industrial carbon capture and storage facility that aims to demonstrate that CO2 emissions can be stored permanently in deep underground rock formations.

The Decatur facility being is designed to capture and store approximately 2,500 metric tons of CO2 a day and sequester it in the saline Mount Simon Sandstone formation at depths of approximately 7,000 feet. Researchers say this sandstone formation can potentially store billions of tons of CO2, including more than 250 million tons produced each year by industries operating in the Illinois Basin region.

Ironically – both from food pricing and less-than-stellar fuel perspectives – the CO2 to be sequestered is a byproduct of processing corn into fuel-grade ethanol at a biofuels plant adjacent to the storage site run by Archer Daniels Midland Company, which is leading the project as part of the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium.

Drilling on this 207-acre project site began in February 2009. A ceremonial groundbreaking occurred last week. The next step of the project, involves construction of a CO2 dehydration/compression facility near the biofuels plant. Following that, a 3,200’ pipeline will feed the CO2 to the well. Carbon capture and storage operations are not expected to commence until late summer 2013.

The Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, which received US $141 million in Recovery Act funding, manages the project. It also received another $65.5 million private sector cost sharing.

“Illinois is at the forefront of helping ensure the U.S. remains competitive in the global clean energy economy, creating new jobs while reducing carbon pollution,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a press announcement

The project will also include the formation of an educational and training facility called the National Sequestration Education Center at nearby Richland Community College in Decatur.

Photo: Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium

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Glenn Meyers

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

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