Sponsored by the DOE's Office of Fossil Energy, the Decatur project was selected in 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to receive $141 million to test large-scale industrial CCS technologies.
Agriculture industry giant Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) is leading the project, which is the nation's first ARRA funded CCS demonstration facility to move into the construction phase. In recent years ADM, which posted 2010 revenues of nearly $2 billion, has been making investments to position itself as "the global leader in bioenergy".
Located on 207-acre located near ADM headquarters, the project is designed to capture 2,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide per day from ADM's biofuels plant and store it in the saline Mount Simon Sandstone formation approximately 7,000 feet under the earth's core. Breaking ground on the facility's construction marks the completion of the well which Schlumberger Carbon Services began drilling in 2009.
According to the DOE, the new facility has the potential to store "all of the more than 250 million tons of CO2 produced each year by industry in the Illinois Basin region." The DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory is overseeing the project, which, in addition to the ARRA funding, has secured $66.5 million in private sector financing. Capture and storage of CO2 is expected to begin in late summer 2013.
ADM and Schlumberger Carbon Services are members of the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC) which is one of seven regional partnerships selected by the DOE to determine the best approaches for capturing and storing carbon.
According to the MGSC, part of the project's mission is to find out "whether geologic carbon sequestration can further improve the environmental footprint of alternative fuels such as ethanol by capturing and storing carbon emissions associated with their production."
The DOE is following through on President Obama's vision for carbon capture, especially in its application to coal power plants. Earlier this year the DOE committed to funds to a project being developed by American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and partner Alstom that will result in the America's first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) system. The Decatur facility will be the nation’s first large-scale industrial carbon capture and storage facility.
Image Credit: MGSC
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