The Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC) has begun work, today (November 28), on the site more than a mile beneath the state of Illinois.

The work is led by the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois.

The CO2 is being captured from the fermentation process used to produce ethanol at Archer Daniels Midland Company’s (ADM) corn processing complex.

It is compressed into a dense-liquid to facilitate the injection process and permanent storage at a depth of 7,000 feet.

The site was chosen as it has the thickest and most widespread saline reservoir in the Illinois Basin, which covers two-thirds of Illinois and reaches into western Indiana and western Kentucky.

The estimated CO2 storage capacity is 11 to 151 billion metric tonnes, and it is below several layers of shale that serve as an impermeable cap rock to hold the CO2 in place, according to researchers.

US Department of Energy chief operating officer, Chuck McConnell, said: “Establishing long-term, environmentally safe and secure underground CO2 storage is a critical component in achieving successful commercial deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology.

“This injection test project by MGSC, as well as those undertaken by other FE regional partnerships, are helping confirm the great potential and viability of permanent geologic storage as an important option in climate change mitigation strategies.”

Illinois governor, Pat Quinn, added: “We are poised to reap the economic and environmental benefits that this public-private partnership has produced.

“This successful project gives Illinois a competitive advantage to attract green businesses and address our climate change responsibilities.”

The project is part of the Development Phase of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships program, launched by the government in 2003.

Luke Walsh

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