Midwest AgEnergy launches Carbon Zero, celebrates CO2 test well

By Midwest AgEnergy | October 14, 2020

Blue Flint, a Midwest AgEnergy company based in Underwood, North Dakota, on Oct. 13 celebrated the commencement of drilling a stratigraphic test well to study the feasibility of underground storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) through a process known as carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS). The event also kicked-off Midwest AgEnergy’s larger initiative called Vision Carbon ZERO, multi-phased approach to reducing the company’s carbon emissions to zero. 

Speaking at today’s event was U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, Lt. Governor Brent Sanford, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. Midwest AgEnergy CEO Jeff Zueger emceed the discussion.  

“With the launch of Midwest AgEnergy’s Carbon Zero initiative, our state continues to lead the way in the development of CCUS technology, a critical path forward for both traditional and renewable energy producers, enabling us to develop more energy with fewer emissions,” Hoeven said. “We’ve worked for well over a decade to set the stage for projects like this, including securing the state authority needed to regulate CO2 storage, funding research into CCUS and implementing and expanding the 45Q tax credit. Being co-located with a coal-fired power station, the Blue Flint ethanol facility already demonstrated the innovative approach we take in North Dakota. With the application of CCUS, our ethanol industry will be able to access more markets and have a more secure economic future.”

“In a global energy market that continues to shift toward renewables, North Dakota-based companies like Midwest AgEnergy are pursuing smart, innovative options to remain viable in the energy market and preserve valuable jobs within our communities,” said Sanford, who serves on North Dakota’s EmPower Commission. “Gov. Burgum and I believe North Dakotans can have all energy options while also having a clean carbon footprint, and Carbon ZERO is a step in that direction.”

“The North Dakota Industrial Commission is pleased to see the vision that is Carbon Zero come to fruition. We were happy to provide $3.4 million in grant funding through the Lignite Energy Council to pursue this project. Successful application of the technology is critical to the viability of any future projects just like this,” said Stenehjem and Goehring in a joint statement. The Industrial Commission consists of Stenehjem, Goehring, and Burgum as chair.

“Today is the first step towards a bigger goal for Midwest AgEnergy,” said CEO Jeff Zueger. “We’re grateful for our elected officials who joined us today who also share the same vision of using agriculture and energy while reducing carbon emissions.” 

Each year Blue Flint produces more than 200,000 tons of CO2, which is subsequently scrubbed and released into the atmosphere. Carbon ZERO will remove the byproduct of CO2 from the plant and store it safely underground in a suitable geologic formation.