Red Trail Energy moves forward with carbon capture research

By Lisa Gibson | June 13, 2017

Red Trail Energy LLC in Richardton, North Dakota, will move forward with phase two of its research into a carbon capture and storage program, following a U.S. EPA decision to grant North Dakota regulatory primacy over Class VI injection wells.

Gerald Bachmeier, Red Trail CEO, says the plan is in its early stages and declined to release information on the carbon capture technology. He said if all the pieces fall into place, the system should be set up and operational in 2019 or 2020, capturing about 180,000 tons of carbon each year. Red Trail Energy produces 64 million gallons of ethanol per year.

Bachmeier credits Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., for getting the state over the crucial hurdle to carbon capture system implementation. “Primacy in North Dakota was the first step,” he said. According to Hoeven’s office, North Dakota submitted its application to become the primary regulatory body for Class VI injection wells in June 2013. In May of this year, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed the proposed rule to approve North Dakota’s application, which will be published in the federal register and open to a 60-day public comment period before being finalized later this year. North Dakota is the first state in the country to gain such approval, according to Hoeven’s office.

“CCS technology will be a vital tool in supporting North Dakota’s energy future,” Hoeven said in a statement. “We’ve worked since 2008 to create an environment that empowers our state’s energy industry to lead the way in developing not only new clean-coal technologies, but also innovative projects for renewable energy sources like ethanol. Having secured this first-of-its-kind approval for our state, Red Trail Energy can move forward on its plan to sequester CO2 from their ethanol plant. This is a prime example of the kind of technologies that can be developed by providing a strong business climate and regulatory certainty.”