DOE aims to develop CO2 infrastructure for ethanol, power plants

By Nebraska Public Power District | July 25, 2018

Nebraska Public Power District is taking another step forward in the carbon world with a second Department of Energy study. This most recent initiative has a goal of developing an integrated carbon dioxide (CO2) collection, transportation, and storage infrastructure in the Midwest for ethanol facilities and nearby power plants.

The District has agreed to be part of DOE’s Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) Phase II study called Integrated Mid-Continent Stacked Carbon Storage Hub. Battelle Institute, based in Columbus, Ohio, will lead the study with support from Archer Daniels Midland Co., the Kansas Geological Survey, and the Energy Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota. The study will look at safely, permanently, and economically storing commercial-scale quantities of CO2.

The study is expected to take two years to complete. DOE has awarded $13.6 million for the project with NPPD’s share being $750,000 of in-kind support, including $700,000 for a portion of a potential test injection well, that will allow for the collection of additional geologic information.

“By being part of Phase II, this continues NPPD’s interest in carbon capture from power plants as well as determining the safest way to transport, store and manage CO2,” said NPPD Generation Strategies Manager John Swanson.

Currently participating in Phase I, NPPD is working with the EERC to complete a final report on a pre-feasibility study for a commercial scale CO2 geologic storage complex, and with Ion Engineering on the integrated CO2 capture facility design for Gentleman Station Unit 2. That design work is expected to be completed during the second quarter of 2019. Both projects have been funded by DOE, but includes in-kind support from NPPD.

Phase II of CarbonSAFE will focus on two areas with high potential for commercial scale CO2 storage that have been identified for further characterization. One site is in Kearney County in southwest Kansas, and another located in Red Willow County, Nebraska, both located in existing oilfields.

This project will find and validate what a CO2 pipeline would look like, initially for two corridors—one that would run across Nebraska from Blair to Hitchcock County. A second corridor is a stacked-storage corridor that runs between southwest Nebraska to southeast Kansas. After initial commercialization employing the ethanol sources, additional sources would be added that include the electric utilities, including NPPD’s Gerald Gentleman Station.

Ethanol producers participating include Cargill, Trenton Agri Products, Valero Renewables, and Pacific Ethanol. NPPD is joined by three Kansas utilities—Westar Energy, Sunflower Electric Power, and the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities.

Battelle notes that the program is the first large-scale project for the mid-continent and represents an important step forward in carbon storage, exceeding DOE’s 50 million metric tons safe storage objective. The proposal is based on a combination of three Phase I CarbonSAFE projects; helping to consolidate resources and align efforts into one strategy for achieving a successful commercial-scale storage project in the mid-continent region before 2025.

The Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) Initiative projects focus on development of geologic storage sites for the storage carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial sources.