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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.




I SAID many time to harness co2 outputs from big power plant chimneys and do methanol or green algae farming with it and recirculate it at the input for a no pollution system. Is it clear now ?


Does capturing, treating, compressing and effectively moving CO2 from point A to point B make it disappear. Is it justified to claimed that this operation has negative CO2 foot print or is effectively recycling CO2?

Is somebody playing with words and distortion reality?

Did somebody managed to recycle CO2 into usable fuel?

Chad Snyder

Yeah, this is scary. "Estimated CO2 storage capacity of up to 3.5 trillion short tons."

Why waste the money, especially on a project related to fricken corn ethanol?

Keep the CO2 investments focused on fuel uses.

Illinois, ethanol, 260 jobs from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This is bad politics. Not as bad as the Bush era, but still bad.

Account Deleted

The planet needs to develop CO2 negative industries that scale to millions of tons of CO2 in order to have instruments available that are able to reduce the atmospheres content of CO2. A CO2 negative biofuels/biomaterials industry may be the only way we can prevent a new global mass extinction event caused by manmade global warming.

What is missing is an international body that measures how much CO2 and other greenhouse gasses that each nation has spilled into the atmosphere during their industrialization so that each nation can be held accountable for paying for the removal of these gasses during the next 150 years or so. It is not going to be inexpensive but a massive CO2 negative biofuels/biomaterials industry is probably the only realistic way that these greenhouse gases can be removed from the atmosphere.


Henrik....if we have to pay back, USA would have to borrow another $20+T. Lenders may become hard to find.


@ Henrick:

"What is missing is an international body that measures..."

What you really want is a one world government. Finally a green has let the cat out of the bag.

Henrick sory to disappoint it ain't gonna happen at least not here in these United States.


This is a Schnaps Idee. For those unfamiliar it's an idea hatched after having one shnapps too many.

Roger Pham

"Solar energy could match coal's price by 2015 in China; globally by 2020" per: http://green.autoblog.com/2011/08/21/solar-energy-match-coal-price-2015-china-globally-2020/

This means that all those captured CO2 could be combined with the H2 produced from solar enery to make Methane, which can be transported in pipelines or tankers for all sorts of usage. No need to worry about the intermittency of solar or wind energy. Hurry up, let's capture all the CO2 released by all fossil-fueled power plants.


One has to wonder why this is being done at an ADM ethanol plant, and not at the Wabash River IGCC plant. Wabash River captures CO2 in the process of syngas sulfur capture, and the entire stream could be piped underground.

The issue of aquifer pressure presumes that water can't be removed to make room for CO2. The water is saline, but if it isn't saturated it can be evaporated with solar energy and the reduced volume re-injected (perhaps along with the CO2). The re-injection of salt eliminates the need to dispose of it, and the water may have value (though not much in areas which receive as much rainfall as Illinois). Minerals in the salt may also have value.


Whatever happened to "The Goracle"? These kinds of stories would attract him like moths to a light...and he'd leave a post like this:


Praise be to Algore!


(with a period above and below his post, which would always include "Praise Be To Algore!")



That kid is now more interested in Lady Gaga probably.

Account Deleted

You would also have to change the fuel input in that IGCC plant with carbon capture from coal to wood pellets in order to make it CO2 negative.

I would presume the economics of doing CO2 capturing at a bio-ethanol refinery where the CO2 is readily available from the fermentation tanks is much better than in a wood pellet fired IGCC plant where the wood pellets are a more expensive fuel and where the CO2 capture requires complex and costly facilities. Moreover, CO2 capturing from coal power plants makes them up to 30% less efficient meaning you have to burn up to 30% more fuel to produce 1kwh of electricity. In Denmark we have abandoned further trials with CO2 capturing from our coal power plants because of the costs. Instead, we co-burn an increasing amount of wood pellets in our coal power plants.

The current economic crisis will be old history before any country get serious about cleaning the atmosphere of manmade CO2 using their biofuels/biomass industries. However, we need to develop the technologies now so that we know more about their potential and costs. I doubt it will cost more than 1% of the global GDP per year to sustain a system that is big enough to reverse the manmade CO2 emissions over a 150 year period. I will gladly pay 1% of my income to prevent or diminish a mass extinction event.

You would also have to change the fuel input in that IGCC plant with carbon capture from coal to wood pellets in order to make it CO2 negative.
The cost of capturing CO2 from a syngas stream at 400 psig doesn't depend on the fuel source. If the stripper of the amine loop operates at a similar pressure to the gasifier, most of the pumping work is eliminated.

Wabash River burns ~2500 tons/day of coal, producing 2-3 million tons/year of CO2. It would allow a substantially bigger test of sequestration at a smaller energy cost.


Some comments are being removed..


..like .. the reason the EPA came about is because US corporations polluted America to the point of rivers catching fire: http://www.cleveland.com/science/index.ssf/2009/06/cuyahoga_river_fire_40_years_a.html


above for the Koch Keystone article..


and A country without the EPA.stories http://gerdludwig.com/

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