technology to the test
By some estimates, deep saline-rock formations in the United States could store up to 500 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), or about 18 times the total of all energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions released worldwide in 2005. While many experts are optimistic about geological carbon sequestration’s potential to combat greenhouse gas emissions, there have been relatively few large-scale research and demonstration projects designed to assess the technology’s effectiveness.
With a view to validating carbon sequestration’s potential, ADM has teamed with the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium, the Illinois State Geological Survey, Schlumberger Carbon Services and the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct two studies that aim to confirm, over the course of several years, the ability of the Mount Simon Sandstone rock formation to accept and store large volumes of CO2 captured from ADM’s Decatur, Illinois, agricultural processing and biofuels production facility. The Mount Simon formation makes up part of the Illinois Basin, a 60,000-square-mile geologic feature that extends under Illinois, southwestern Indiana and western Kentucky.
In the first project, drilling of a 7,200-foot-deep monitoring well at the 207-acre project site — located on ADM property north of our Decatur ethanol plant — will be completed in late 2010. Beginning early in the 2011 calendar year, CO2 from the ethanol production facility that otherwise would be emitted into the atmosphere will be injected at a rate of 1,000 metric tons per day for a period of about three years. This research will help determine whether geologic carbon sequestration can improve the environmental footprint of alternative fuels such as ethanol by capturing and storing emissions associated with their production.
In June 2010, ADM was also selected by the Department of Energy to implement a second carbon-sequestration project — a commercial-scale initiative involving the construction and operation of a collection, compression and dehydration facility capable of delivering up to 3,000 metric tons per day of carbon dioxide to the injection and sequestration site.
Over the course of five years, the two projects will inject up to 3.6 million tons of CO2 – roughly the same amount generated by more than 715,000 automobiles in a year – into the Mount Simon formation.