EPA opens comment period on draft permits for ADM CCS project

By Erin Voegele | April 25, 2014

The U.S. EPA has opened a public comment period on draft permits for Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Dacatur, Ill. The project aims to inject and sequester carbon dioxide produced at ADM’s Decatur ethanol plant. Comments are due May 30.

According to the EPA, ADM has applied for underground injection control (UIC) permits to construct and operate two Class VI injection wells for the purpose of geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide. The goal of the project is to demonstrate the ability of the Mt. Simon geologic formation to accept and retain industrial scale volumes of carbon dioxide for permanent geologic sequestration.

EPA documentation indicates the first injection well, CCS#1, has a projected operational period of three years and would inject 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the Mt. Simon geologic formation during that time. The second well, CCS#2, is expected to be operational for five years, during which time an estimated 5.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide would be injected into the formation. ADM has proposed a post-injection monitoring and site closure period of 10 years.

A fact sheet published by EPA explains that the project would capture carbon dioxide from the ethanol production process. That captured carbon dioxide is pressurized into a liquid that can be injected underground through wells. The injected CO2 will be stored more than 5,000 feet below ground level.

EPA documentation explains that ADM has an existing well and plans a new well for carbon dioxide injection. Several other wells will allow the company to monitor the main wells. The CCS#1 well is already working, and is operating under a permit issued by Illinois EPA. CCS#2 has not yet been drilled.

Last month, ADM’s carbon sequestration project celebrated a new milestone, when its 750,000th metric ton of carbon dioxide was injected underground. The project, a joint development of ADM, the Illinois State Geological Survey, U.S. DOE and Schlumberger Carbon Services, began capturing carbon dioxide from the ADM ethanol plant in November 2011.

The EPA will hold an open house and formal hearing on the draft permit in Decatur on May 21. Additional information on the draft permits, open house, hearing and comment period is available on the EPA website