Construction of large-scale industrial carbon capture, storage project begins at ADM corn ethanol plant; 1M tonnes of CO2/year
|Project area map. Source: DOE 2011a. Click to enlarge.|
Construction activities have begun at an Illinois ethanol plant on a full-scale commercial project that will demonstrate industrial carbon capture and storage (ICCS). Sponsored by the US Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy, the Illinois-ICCS project is the first large-scale integrated carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to move into the construction phase.
Led by the Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), a member of DOE’s Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium, the Illinois-ICCS project is designed to sequester approximately 2,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide ( CO2) per day in the saline Mount Simon Sandstone formation at depths of approximately 7,000 feet. Researchers estimate that the sandstone formation can potentially store billions of tons of CO2 and has the overall potential to sequester all of the more than 250 million tons of CO2 produced each year by industry in the Illinois Basin region.
Two-thirds of the United States has deep saline formations beneath it. These formations have an estimated CO2 storage capacity of up to 3.5 trillion short tons. Many of these formations are located in close proximity to major sources of CO2 emissions, such as fossil-fuel power plants, which offer the benefit of reducing costs for transportation of CO2 to the injection site. This proposed large-scale field project would help to resolve uncertainties associated with the reactions that may occur between CO2, brine, and minerals in the surrounding strata.
The project, under carefully controlled and monitored conditions, would determine whether, and to what extent, large-scale pressurization would affect cap rock integrity, cause land surface deformation, and induce seismic hazards. Successful large-scale application of this technology demands that these potential effects, regardless of the probability of their occurrence, must be better understood to design safe and effective sequestration in saline formations. Another possible issue pertains to the acceptable leakage rate from the formation into overlying strata.—DOE 2011a
The Illinois-ICCS project includes the design, construction, and demonstration of a CO2 compression and dehydration facility as a precursor to CO2 storage and subsequent monitoring, verification, and accounting of the stored CO2.
The injected CO2 will come from the byproduct from processing corn into fuel-grade ethanol at ADM’s biofuels plant adjacent to the storage site in Decatur, Illinois. The 99% pure CO2 will be moisture-laden and at atmospheric pressure from the fermentation vessels; it will need to be dehydrated and compressed to approximately 2500 pounds per square inch (psi) and delivered to the wellhead as supercritical CO2.
A 24-inch (61 cm) 1,224-ft pipe will carry the CO2 at approximately 10 psig from the outlet of the booster gas blower to the dehydration/compression facility. The CO2 will be dehydrated, compressed to approximately 2500 psig and 95 ° F (F) , and then moved about 5,290-feet through an 8-inch (15.24 cm) pipe to the injection well location. That well location will be on a tract of approximately 207 acres, also owned by ADM and located adjacent to the plant.
Because all of the captured CO2 is produced from biologic fermentation, a significant feature of the project is its negative carbon footprint—i.e., the sequestration results in a net reduction of atmospheric CO2 according to current carbon accounting methods.
In October 2009, DOE selected the ADM team—which now includes Schlumberger Carbon Services, the Illinois State Geological Survey, and Richland Community College—to conduct one of 12 projects in Phase 1 of its ICCS program, aimed at testing large-scale industrial CCS technologies. DOE then selected the project in June 2010 as one of three projects to receive continued (Phase 2) funding.
The Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory manages the Illinois-ICCS project, which receives $141.4 million in ARRA funding and another $66.5 million private sector cost-sharing. Since ADM does not presently have a locally feasible CO2 re-utilization option, such as enhanced oil recovery, the federal funding offsets potential technical and economic risks and provides an opportunity for ADM and its partners to gather crucial scientific and engineering data in advance of carbon capture requirements.
The operations phase of the project—capture and storage of the CO2—is expected to begin in late summer 2013. The operations phase will create approximately 260 jobs and add to an understanding of long-term CO2 storage in saline formations.
Integral to the project will be the formation of an educational and training facility, the National Sequestration Education Center, slated to be housed at nearby Richland Community College in Decatur. The center will contain classrooms, training, and laboratory facilities, and it will offer students associate degrees in sequestration technology.
(DOE 2011a) Final Environmental Assessment of Industrial Carbon Capture and Sequestration (ICCS) Area 1 Project “CO2 Capture from Biofuels Production and Sequestration into the Mt. Simon Sandstone”, Archer Daniels Midland Company Decatur, Illinois, DOE/EA-1828 (April 2011)
(DOE 2011b) Finding of No Significant Impact for Archer Daniels Midland Company’s "CO2 Capture from Biofuels Production and Sequestration into the Mt. Simon Sandstone”, Decatur, Illinois, DOE/EA-1828 (May 2011)