The Department of Energy’s (DOE) has awarded $66.7 million to the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC) for the Department’s fourth large-scale carbon sequestration project.
The award to MGSC is the fourth of seven awards in the third phase of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships program. In October, the DOE awarded $197 million to the first three large-scale carbon sequestration projects: Plains Carbon Dioxide Reduction Partnership; Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership; and Southwest Regional Partnership for Carbon Sequestration. The first three projects have a total estimated value including partnership cost share of $318 million. (Earlier post.)
The MSGC project will conduct large volume tests in the Illinois Basin to demonstrate the ability of a geologic formation to safely, permanently, and economically store more than one million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Subject to annual appropriations from Congress, this project including the partnership’s cost share is estimated to cost $84.3 million.
This partnership, led by Illinois State Geological Survey, will demonstrate CO2 storage in the Mount Simon Sandstone Formation, a prolific geologic formation throughout Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, and portions of Ohio. This formation offers the potential to store more than 100 years of carbon dioxide emissions from major point sources in the region, according to the DOE.
The partnership will inject one million tons of CO2 into one of the thickest portions of the Mount Simon Formation to test how the heterogeneity of the formation can increase the effectiveness of storage and demonstrate that the massive seals can contain the CO2. The results of this project will provide the foundation for the future development of CO2 capture and storage opportunities in the region.
Researchers and industry partners will characterize the injection sites and complete modeling, monitoring, and infrastructure assessments needed before CO2 can be injected. MGSC plans to drill a CO2 injection well and then inject about 1,000 tons per day of carbon dioxide into the Mt. Simon sandstone, which is approximately 5,500 feet below the surface. The project will inject CO2 for three years before closing the injection site and monitoring and modeling the injected carbon dioxide to determine the effectiveness of the storage reservoir.
The Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium will work with the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company to demonstrate the entire CO2 injection process—pre-injection characterization, injection process monitoring, and post-injection monitoring—at large volumes to determine the ability of different geologic settings to permanently store CO2.
ADM’s ethanol plant in Decatur, IL, will serve as the source of CO2 for the project, and ADM will cost share the expense of the CO2. DOE will fund the dehydration, compression, short pipeline, and related facility costs to deliver the CO2 to the wellhead.
The seven regional partnerships in the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Program include more than 350 state agencies, universities, and private companies within 41 states, two Indian nations, and four Canadian provinces. During the first phase of the program, seven partnerships characterized the potential for CO2 storage in deep oil-, gas-, coal-, and saline-bearing formations. When Phase I ended in 2005, the partnerships had identified more than 3,000 billion metric tons of potential storage capacity in promising sinks. This has the potential to represent more than 1,000 years of storage capacity from point sources in North America.
In the program’s second phase, the partnerships implemented a portfolio of small-scale geologic and terrestrial sequestration projects. The purpose of these tests was to validate that different geologic formations have the injectivity, containment, and storage effectiveness needed for long-term sequestration. The third-phase, large-volume tests are designed to validate that the capture, transportation, injection, and long term storage of over one million tons of carbon dioxide can be done safely, permanently, and economically.