Alternative Fuels, Research

Midwest AgEnergy holds open house for CCS project

Midwest AgEnergy Group (MAG) held an open house on November 3 near its Blue Flint location in Underwood, N.D. Approximately 40 community members attended the event to learn about a carbon capture and storage project that is underway at the ethanol facility.

The Blue Flint CO2 storage project involves injecting CO2 deep underground for permanent geologic storage. The CO2 comes from ethanol production at the facility. The Broom Creek Formation is a sandstone reservoir, sitting more than 4500 feet below the surface at Blue Flint, and has been the subject of numerous studies for its CO2 storage potential conducted by the North Dakota Geological Survey, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC). The studies show that the formation is an ideal storage zone because of its superior capacity to hold CO2, its adequate depth, and the presence of impermeable rock layers surrounding the Broom Creek which will keep the CO2 contained.

Attendees heard updates on the project from Midwest AgEnergy Director of Regulatory and Technical Services Adam Dunlop and scientists from the EERC. The presenters addressed questions from the audience about the project and its benefits to the region.

“Our goal is to utilize every product from the ethanol process,” says Dunlop. “That includes ethanol, distillers’ grain, and CO2. Capturing and storing the CO2 allows us to take advantage of tax incentives as well as reduce our carbon footprint.”

MAG and the EERC fielded questions from landowners and the general public on the safety of the project and regulations related to pore space leasing. MAG and the EERC explained the landowner and mineral owner notification process and forum for landowners to provide comments at the public hearing on the project as well as where the general public can find information on the permit and public hearing.

Human safety and environmental protection are paramount to Midwest AgEnergy. When CO2 is injected into the right geology using the right equipment and its movement is tracked, permanently storing CO2 deep underground is safe. Blue Flint’s CO2 will be injected more than 4500 feet deep, far below drinking water zones, and into rock layers that will permanently hold it. MAG and the EERC have worked together to develop a subsurface and groundwater monitoring program designed to provide assurance that the underground water supply is protected and the CO2 is safely stored.

“The North Dakota Industrial Commission has the authority (aka primacy) to regulate CO2 storage projects in North Dakota,” says Kevin Connors, Assistant Director for Regulatory Compliance at the EERC. “These regulations meet and exceed the standards used by the Environmental Protection Agency. The site operator is required to demonstrate in the permit that the site is suitable for safe and permanent geologic storage of CO2 and all the necessary plans are in place to ensure human health and safety.”

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