Ground Zero For CO2's First "Big Sink" Located In Obama's Homeland


Drilling rig used for Phase III of Illinois Basin—Decatur Project Image credit:Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium

CO2 for the first "Big Sink" project in the USA apparently comes from one of ADM's grain-to-ethanol facilities, located on the outskirts of Decatur Illinois. The mile+ CO2 injection well also will be ADM property. CO2 injection begins early next year, closely followed by 3 years of environmental monitoring. The newspaper story covering this prototype project can be seen in full at the Illinois State Journal Register: Experiment on CO2 storage about to begin at Decatur's ADM. See below for excerpts from the State-Journal Register and from the Illinois Basin Project website, respectively.

"This is the first one that has started drilling in the country. We're ready to get up and running," Robert Finley, principal geologist and director of the Illinois State Geological Survey, said on Friday.

The department, ADM and the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium just announced plans for a formal groundbreaking on April 6, though Finley said much of the environmental testing already has been done.


Drilling is underway.
The project is designed to confirm the ability of the Mt. Simon Sandstone, a major regional deep saline reservoir in Illinois, to accept and store 1 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide over a period of three years. Carbon dioxide from ADM's ethanol plant will be injected into a well drilled to depths exceeding 7,500 feet into the Mt. Simon Sandstone, where the compressed, liquid-like CO2 will be stored in the pores of the rock formation, which is presently saturated with water that is several times saltier than sea water. The safety and effectiveness of the storage will be monitored by the MGSC through an extensive environmental monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA) program.

The Illinois Basin—Decatur Project is the first in the nation large-scale demonstration project to receive an underground injection control permit, start an extensive environmental monitoring program, and begin drilling an injection well. Drilling of the carbon dioxide injection well began on February 14, 2009.

Commentary.
This project is more than just a "first" in the USA. Because environmental test results will be available during the first term of the Obama Administration, and because the well is literally on Obama's political home turf in Illinois, eyes of the pundit-ocracy will be on this one.

Here's hoping that the results are made public as soon as any needed peer review is complete, and that opponents as well as the "Clean Coal" crew are given equal, timely access to the data.

Low risk of "fatal injection."
The highly saline nature of Southern IL groundwater means that even an outward dispersion of carbonic acid from the injection zone would not be compromising anyone's drinking water. Good siting choice from that standpoint.

If down the road there's a hiccup from the well-head, the fact that the injection well is on a private site, not proximate to dense residential or commercial development, means there is a low suffocation risk

Potential industry benefit.
For the next year or so, while C02 injection is underway, the project would seem to provide an argument for whatever incentives may be needed to keep the market price for fuel ethanol high enough to warrant continued operation of the ADM fermenters.

Do carbon credits from the project prospectively accrue to ADM, enabling the site to avoid paying a Cap penalty, should Cap & Trade be enacted? Just wondering out loud about these two topics.

More carbon dioxide sequestration posts.
The Carbon Sequestration Cost Everyone Else Forgot
Biochar Offers Answer for Healthy Soil and Carbon Sequestration ...
Important! Why Carbon Sequestration Won't Save Us
Wyoming - the New Carbon Sequestration Capital
Southern Illinois To Sequester Wisconsin's C02

Tags: Carbon Sequestration | Clean Coal | Illinois

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