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ADM starts commercial-scale CCS at Decatur ethanol plant

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and the US Department of Energy (DOE) have announced that the Illinois Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage (ICCS) project, a partnership to safely and permanently store more than 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually from corn ethanol production, has begun operations.

Inter‐stage piping in the compressor facility (photo courtesy ADM).

Inter‐stage piping in the compressor facility (photo courtesy ADM).

US-headed Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) one of the world’s largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers and the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced April 7 that the Illinois Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage (ICCS) project at ADM’s Decatur corn ethanol facility has begun operations by injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) into a large saline reservoir.

– We are extremely proud to be part of this important program. The technology that we are using in Decatur can be a model for reducing industrial carbon emissions around the world, said Todd Werpy, Chief Technology Officer at ADM.

Major saline aquifer

Built adjacent to ADM’s 350 million gallon (≈ 1.32 billion litre) per annum corn ethanol facility in Decatur, Illinois, the ICCS plant captures CO2 generated as a byproduct of the fermentation process and stores it almost 2 km underground in the Mount Simon Sandstone. This is the primary carbon storage resource in the Illinois Basin and the Midwest region and one of the largest saline aquifers in the world.

The ICCS project can store approximately one million tonnes of CO2 per annum at depths of approximately 7 000 feet (≈2.1 km). This is roughly equivalent to the annual amount of CO2 generated by the fermentation process at the ethanol facility.

However, researchers estimate that the sandstone formation can potentially store more than 250 million tonnes of produced CO2 each year. Nearly 50 years of successful natural gas storage in the Mount Simon Sandstone indicates that this saline reservoir and overlying seals should effectively contain stored CO2.

World’s first large-scale biofuel CCS project

The ICCS is a partnership project operated by ADM and administered by the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). It received a US$141 million investment from DOE, matched by over US$66 million in a cost share agreement with ADM, the University of Illinois (U of I) through the Illinois State Geological Survey, Schlumberger Carbon Services, and Richland Community College.

– This project marks a major step forward for the advancement of industrial carbon capture and storage technologies, said Doug Hollett, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy.

With the capability to store 1.1 million tonnes of carbon annually, ICCS is designed to demonstrate the commercial-scale applicability of carbon capture and storage technology in a saline reservoir. The project is currently permitted to operate for five years and has the potential to store up to 5.5 million tonnes of CO2.

– 2017 is a watershed year for carbon capture in the United States. On the heels of the successful opening of Petra Nova in Texas, the Illinois Industrial facility serves as another example that large-scale CCS deployment works, is safe, and serves as a key component of a low-carbon future, said Jeff Erikson, General Manager of the Americas region with the Global CCS Institute, an international membership organisation with a mission to accelerate the development, demonstration and deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS).

According to Erikson, the ICCS facility is the 12th large-scale CCS facility operating in North America and the first large-scale application of CCS in biofuels production in the world.

Second CCS project for ADM

It is also the second carbon capture and storage project that ADM has helped to lead. Previously, the company removed and stored approximately a million tonnes of carbon over three years as part of the smaller-scale Illinois Basin – Decatur Project (IBDP), led by the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium at the University of Illinois and supported with funding from the DOE.

Conducted during 2011 to 2014, the objective of the IBDP was to validate the capacity, injectivity, and containment of the Mount Simon Sandstone. The facility consists of a CO2 compression and dehydration unit, a delivery pipeline, one injection well, one observation/verification well and a geophysical test well.

The recently commenced ICCS project expands the CO2 capture and storage capacity to that of a commercial-scale operation and ADM has integrated the existing IBDP facilities with new facilities built under the ICCS project. The CO2 compression and dehydration unit has now a design capacity to pipe up to 2 000 tonnes per day of CO2 at over 99 percent purity to the injection site which is located about 1.6 km from the plant.

– ADM is committed to successfully feeding the world while minimizing our impact on the planet. Around the globe, across our business, from reducing waste and water usage to increasing energy efficiency to taking part in this groundbreaking carbon storage project, we are living up to our dedication to doing business the right way, ended Todd Werpy.

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