Ethanol plant CO2 sequestration project reaches new milestone

By Chris Hanson | March 25, 2014

The $163.9 million Illinois Basin-Decatur Project celebrated as new milestone as its carbon sequestration project stored 750,000 metric tons carbon dioxide from Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s ethanol plant in Decatur, Ill.

“We are here today to celebrate a groundbreaking project that is paying important dividends,” said Todd Werpy, vice president of research at ADM. “As of today, we have injected 750,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide – which otherwise would have been released into the atmosphere – safely underground. Just as importantly, we have gathered data that will allow us to move forward with the even more ambitious Illinois Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage project, which will have the capability to store a million tons of CO2 every year.”

The carbon sequestration project, a joint development between ADM, Illinois State Geological Survey, the U.S. DOE and Schlumberger Carbon Services, began capturing CO2 from the ADM plant in November 2011 and aims to store 1 million tons of the gas annually approximately 7,000 feet below ground in the nearby Mount Simon Sandstone formation.

“The Illinois Basin-Decatur Project shows how carbon capture and storage can play an important role in the development of sustainable energy options for our future,” said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “The project also demonstrates the potential gains to be realized from close partnerships between universities, the private sector and all levels of government.”

“Today marks a key milestone in the project,” said William Shilts, executive director of the Prairies Research Institute at the University of Illinois. “We have several more [milestones] to go, and beyond the storage process is the critical data collection to prove the system’s long term viability.”