What is Carbon Capture and Storage?
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a way of reducing carbon emissions by using the Earth’s natural trapping system to store CO2, a natural element already found underground. CO2 is captured by industrial activity, purified and then compressed into liquid form. Liquified CO2 is then transported through pipelines to storage wells where it is safely injected into sealed off geological formations and can be stored securely for millions of years.
CCS is considered a key technology in helping reduce global CO2 levels, and has been proven to be effective and safe at a large-scale commercial level. CCS also plays a significant role in the development of sustainable energy options for the future.
ADM and CCS
ADM is a national and world leader in the implementation of CCS technology, and has been recognized for its exemplary work being done in the fields of energy and environmental management. ADM was the first American company to be granted a Class VI CCS well permit by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and has been successfully operating CCS wells in Decatur for more than a decade.
ADM has also worked with the Department of Energy and the Illinois Geological Survey at the University of Illinois for many years to validate the safety, security and effectiveness of CCS technology.
Deploying CCS technology in ADM’s processing operations is one of the many ways ADM is decarbonizing its footprint. CCS is an important technology to help us meet the growing demand for low-carbon energy and ingredient solutions.
“ADM’s project is fantastic. The world truly needs pure storage CCS projects in order to overcome climate change, and it is therefore incredible to learn that this has been the first successful completion of such a project.”
-A judge from the Environment + Energy award program, where the Illinois Basin-Decatur Project, a partnership between ADM and the Illinois Geological Survey at the University of Illinois, was named Top Project of the Year, 2022.
Understanding the Geology
One of the most important factors for successful storage of CO2 is the geology of the injection site location. CCS wells inject purified and compressed CO2 more than 1.5 miles underground. Locations are chosen because of their geological makeup which have both porous rock for storage at the optimal depth and several layers of impermeable rocks above the storage area to serve as seals.
Why Decatur? The Illinois Basin
The Illinois Basin features the Mt. Simon Sandstone Saline Reservoir located about 1.5 miles underground, as well as several layers of shale rock, making it ideal for CCS storage.
Is Carbon Capture and Storage Safe?
Over the course of the last decade, ADM has safely and permanently stored more than 3.5 million metric tons of CO2 at our first-of-its kind commercial CCS site in Decatur, Illinois. ADM continues to work closely with state and federal agencies including the Illinois State Geological Survey at the University of Illinois, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. EPA to ensure the safety of the CCS project in Decatur.
Because the CO2 is injected 1.5 miles underground, far below drinking water supplies, it does not impact activities on the surface. ADM has been injecting liquified CO2 beneath our North American Headquarters and our extensive plant operations in Decatur for many years.
Comprehensive monitoring tools are in place to monitor any potential impacts to groundwater, surface area and the underground geology, including seismic activity.
Looking to the Future
CCS is an important and proven technology as ADM looks to implement a variety of different strategies to decarbonize our footprint. CCS can help us meet the growing demand for low-carbon energy and ingredient solutions, add value to ADM products and potentially reach new markets in the future. We are looking to further leverage our existing CCS capabilities in several different ways, including:
- Expanding ADM’s current CCS well capacity in Decatur.
- Connecting our corn processing facilities in Cedar Rapids and Clinton, Iowa, to our existing CCS wells in Decatur through a CO2 pipeline built and operated by Wolf Carbon Solutions
- Connecting our corn processing facility in Columbus, Nebraska, to a storage site in Wyoming through a project led by Tallgrass Energy Solutions to convert an existing natural gas pipeline to transport
- Connecting our existing CCS wells in Decatur to a net-zero power plant project Warwick Carbon Solutions and 8 Rivers Capital have proposed adjacent to our processing facilities in Decatur, which could also supply ADM with clean electricity.
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