DECATUR — Archer Daniels Midland Co. is planning to partner with Ameren Illinois on developing an innovative use for a byproduct from its corn processing facility in Decatur.

The project announced Thursday will allow Ameren Illinois to distribute renewable natural gas from ADM's corn processing facility into the nation's natural gas infrastructure.

“Consumers and the country benefit from the addition of more clean, renewable energy into the national network,” said Colin Graves, ADM's project manager.

ADM will benefit from capitalizing on environmental credits, Graves said.

The plan when construction of the project is complete is for ADM to purify methane into pipeline-quality natural gas. ADM said methane is a natural byproduct of the anaerobic digestion process from its Decatur wastewater treatment facility.

After the methane is purified, it will be transported to an Ameren Illinois gas pipeline. The utility will then distribute the gas into the interstate pipeline system where it will be available for use as a clean, affordable transportation fuel.

“This project will support the delivery of clean, renewable energy to our customers while reaffirming our commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Eric Kozak, Ameren Illinois senior director of gas operations.

Kozak said Ameren Illinois has made a significant investment in upgrading the capacity of its natural gas delivery system.

ADM is targeting completing construction in May 2017.

Graves said the project is similar to ones ADM has been involved with for nearly the past decade.

“Much like we did with our carbon capture and storage project, we are investing in technology and infrastructure in Decatur that benefits our environment, our community and our company all at once,” Graves said. “And in this case, Decatur is going to be a model. We will be taking what we learn here and examining how best to replicate these benefits in other forms and locations across the country.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently in the final stages of reviewing a permit that would allow ADM to begin the next phase of injecting carbon dioxide deep below ground. A public hearing on the Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage project is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the Decatur Public Library, 130 N. Franklin St., Decatur.

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