DECATUR – As the injection phase for an initial carbon sequestration project draws to a close, the stage is being set to further develop carbon storage opportunities.
The Illinois Basin Project so far has successfully captured 975,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide since 2011 to be stored deep under the Archer Daniels Midland Co. complex in Decatur, said Scott McDonald, the company's biofuels development director.
It is on track to reach the target of 1 million metric tons later this month injected into the Mount Simon Sandstone, McDonald said.
The carbon dioxide is captured from ADM's ethanol plant.
“Everything has gone very well,” McDonald said. “The formation accepts fluids better than we anticipated early on. There haven't been any surprises.”
ADM has applied to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a second permit to continue injecting carbon dioxide from the well. A public hearing was held Wednesday at the Decatur Public Library, during which no comments were made.
The permit process is being done to ensure drinking water sources are protected and that ADM appropriately manages both wells.
The agency will be accepting comments from the public through Friday. Written comments can be sent to Andrew Greenhagen, U.S. EPA (WU-16J) 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, 60604-3590. The draft permit and fact sheet are available at the library.
More information can be found at www.epa.gov/region5/water/uic/adm/ or by calling 1-800-621-8437 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
McDonald said there are no intentions right now to inject more carbon dioxide from the first well once the goal is met. He said its focus is currently on starting a second phase, known as the Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage project.
A final permit was issued to allow ADM to construct an injection well for that project but it is awaiting the results of an appeals process. McDonald still expects to start drilling and have it operational next year.
The information from the first phase can aid in developing future projects, McDonald said.
“We've benefited from the first project,” McDonald said. “We're getting ready to start drilling for the second project as soon as we have the permit. We expect the operation to go smoothly.”
The goal of storing carbon dioxide underground to reduce greenhouse emissions and reduce climate change, McDonald said.
“We are affecting the environment,” McDonald said.
Carbon storage is part a portfolio including biofuels and renewable energy sources that McDonald said will offset carbon emissions. Ultimately, McDonald said ADM is interested in using carbon dioxide as part of enhanced oil recovery efforts.