The project, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, is the first large-scale integrated carbon-capture and storage demonstration project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to move into the construction phase.
The Decatur, Ill., plant is designed to deposit about 2,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide per day in the saline Mount Simon Sandstone formation at depths of about 7,000 feet. Researchers estimate that the sandstone formation can potentially store billions of tons of CO2, with the potential to sequester the more than 250 million tons of CO2 produced each year by industry in the Illinois Basin region.
The injected CO2 will come from the byproduct from processing corn into fuel-grade ethanol at Archer Daniels Midland Company’s biofuels plant (pictured) adjacent to the storage site.
Because all of the captured CO2 is produced from biologic fermentation, a significant feature of the project is its “negative carbon footprint,” meaning that the sequestration results in a net reduction of atmospheric CO2, according to the Department of Energy.
In July, American Electric Power abandoned plans to build a carbon capture and storage facility, terminating a cooperative agreement with the Department of Energy.