International carbon storage body praises Department of Energy projects

Washington, D.C. — Three U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) projects have been identified by an international carbon storage organization as an important advancement toward commercialization and large-scale deployment of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies.

The projects were officially recognized by the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) at its recent meeting in Perth, Australia for making significant contributions to the development of global carbon dioxide (CO2) mitigation technologies. All three projects will appear in a yearly project portfolio on the CSLF website to keep the global community updated on progress. With CSLF recognition, these cutting-edge projects will gain enhanced global visibility and widespread knowledge-sharing opportunities.

CCUS involves separating CO2 from the emissions produced by power plants and other industrial processes and putting it to beneficial use or permanently storing it in geologic formations. The two processes—long-term storage and beneficial use—may even be combined, as when CO2 is used to produce additional oil from depleted oilfields in a process called enhanced oil recovery. Geologic storage of CO2 prevents the greenhouse gas from escaping into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.

Brief descriptions of the three DOE projects, which are managed by the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, follow:

  • Illinois Basin Decatur Project (Decatur, Ill.): This large-scale CCUS demonstration project is being conducted by the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium, one of seven regional partnerships in DOE’s Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships program. Led by the Illinois State Geological Survey, the project is injecting 1 million metric tons of CO2 over 3 years into the lower Mt. Simon Sandstone at a depth of 7,000 feet. The CO2 is captured from an ethanol production plant at the Archer Daniels Midland Company’s agricultural-products processing complex in Decatur, Ill. Throughout the project, the injected CO2 is being monitored to ensure storage permanence. The research findings and lessons learned are proving highly valuable for establishing best practices for future CO2-injection projects. The project has been in operation since November 2011 and has already injected 310,000 metric tons of CO2. Schlumberger Carbon Services is also a project partner.

  • Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (Allentown, Pa.): With funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), this large-scale industrial CCUS project is examining CO2 capture from Air Products’ hydrogen facility at Valero Refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. CO2 will be purified prior to injection into the West Hastings Field oil reservoir as part of an enhanced oil recovery effort. The vacuum swing adsorption systems used will separate 90 percent of the CO2 from the facility’s process gas stream, with the goal of capturing and purifying 1 million metric tons of CO2 per year for storage. The project partner is Denbury Onshore LLC. This project is scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2012.

  • Illinois Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage Project (Decatur, Ill.): Up to 3,000 metric tons of CO2 per day from Archer Daniel Midlands Company’s ethanol-production plant will be injected into the Mt. Simon Sandstone in this ARRA-funded large-scale industrial CCUS project. A negative-carbon-footprint project, it will focus on design, construction, demonstration, and integrated operation of CO2 compression, dehydration, and injection facilities, and will follow with monitoring of the injected CO2. Community outreach, training, and education are an integral part of the project. Led by ADM, project partners include Schlumberger Carbon Services, the Illinois State Geological Survey, and Richland Community College. The project is scheduled to initiate CO2 injection in the fall of 2013.

The CSLF is an international climate change initiative that focuses on the development of technologies to cost-effectively capture, utilize, and store CO2. Member countries include the United States, the European Union, and 23 other countries that together account for 75 percent of all global anthropogenic CO2 emissions and aim to collaborate on mitigation efforts.