NDIC approves Class VI well for Red Trail Energy’s CCS project

By Erin Voegele | October 20, 2021

The North Dakota Industrial Commission on Oct. 19 approved the state’s first Class VI well for carbon dioxide sequestration. The approval will allow Red Trail Energy LLC to geologically store CO2 produced at its ethanol plant near Richardton, North Dakota.

The 65 MMgy ethanol plant currently emits an average of 180,000 metric tons of high-purity CO2 annually from the ethanol fermentation process, according to the NDIC. The Class VI well approval allows the plant to commercially capture and inject that 180,000-metric-tons-per-year CO2 stream into the Broom Creek Formation on RTE property for permanent geologic CO2 storage.

 “We commend Red Trail Energy for their innovative and rigorous work to submit an application that sets the standard for future carbon capture applications,” the NDIC said in a joint statement. “Red Trail’s work with the Energy & Environmental Research Center has resulted in a project that assures that carbon dioxide can be safely stored for generations.” The North Dakota Industrial Commission is made up of Gov. Doug Burgum, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

RTE submitted a North Dakota Carbon Dioxide Storage Facility permit application to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources in February 2021. The DMR is a division of the NDIC. 

The USDA awarded RTE’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) project a $25 million loan under the Rural Energy for American Program in September 2021. According to the USDA, the CCS project is expected to reduce the carbon intensity (CI) score of ethanol produced at the Red Trail Energy plant up 40 to 50 percent and enable the company to sell its fuel into low-carbon fuel standard markets.

The NDIC has also provided financial support to the project. In June 2020, the NDIC awarded $500,000 in Renewable Energy Program matching funds to the Energy and Environment Research Center for work toward the development of the RTE CCS project.  

A full copy of the NDIC’s announcement is available on the agency’s website