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DOE Breaks Ground On First Carbon Capture Demo Project

DOE Breaks Ground On First Carbon Capture Demo Project

 

The U.S. Department of Energy recently broke ground on a facility that will use $141 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to demonstrate the efficacy of the carbon capture and storage process.

The project, which will be constructed near the Archer Daniels Midland biofuels plant in Decatur, Illinois, is the first federally-funded, large-scale integrated carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration project to move out of the construction phase. The announcement comes just a few weeks after American Electric Power abandoned its plans to build its $668 million CCS facility in New Haven, West Virginia.

The Illinois project will be designed to sequester approximately 2,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per day in the saline Mount Simon Sandstone formation at depths of approximately 7,000 feet. Project officials claim that the sandstone formation can potentially store billions of tons of CO2 and has the overall potential to sequester all of the more than 250 million tons of CO2 produced each year by industry in the Illinois Basin region.

While this may be true, it’s hard to believe that sequestration is a preferable alternative to simply not producing the C02 in the first place.

The injected CO2 to be “eliminated” by the project comes from the byproduct from processing corn into fuel-grade ethanol at ADM’s adjacent biofuels plant; a practice that recently lost federal subsidies because it “pushes up food prices that disproportionately affect the poor and hungry of developing countries.”

Despite the controversy surrounding ethanol production, anything that helps to reduce carbon emissions in Illinois is a step in the right direction. The state has depended on coal-fired power for decades and has been the site of many protests concerning affects of this industry on human and environmental health.

“Illinois is at the forefront of helping ensure the US remains competitive in the global clean energy economy, creating new jobs while reducing carbon pollution,” said US Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a statement. “This first of its kind project will bring jobs to Illinois while advancing technology that the United States can sell around the world.”

In addition to providing a working demonstration of CCS technology, the project also calls for an educational and training facility, the National Sequestration Education Center, slated to be housed at nearby Richland Community College in Decatur. The center will contain classrooms, training and laboratory facilities, and it will offer students associate degrees in sequestration technology.

Related Reading:

Carbon Capture And Storage: Band-Aid On A Bullet Wound?

Could Carbon Sequestration Lead To More Earthquakes?

Studies Show Green Roofs Capture Carbon

Image Credit: Flickr – vxla

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63 comments

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12:46PM PDT on Sep 4, 2011

Agreed Christian P. Planting trees is guaranteed to work and will have no strange or unforeseen problems in the future. It is probably a lot cheaper, requires very small initial investment (seeds and spades) and it has many other benefits to all life on Earth as well, thank you for mentioning it. Perhaps we could get our prison populations to help with the planting and initial care of them (for free labour).

The other great way to lock up carbon and to reduce pollution is to have 'organic' crop growing. Creating rich organic soil and maintaining it in good order is fantastic for locking up carbon whereas creating nitrogen fertiliser to grow plants on barren soil is an absolute disaster requiring the burning of vast amounts of oil. This soluble chemical fertilizer then runs through the soil and pollutes our drinking water, rivers and seas.

There is already one prison governor making his 'guests' grow their own organic food and I think this is a wonderful idea. I think they should also provide local orphanages, children's hospitals and other charities with fresh organic veg too!

I know the idea of trees and organic growing seems very simple and obvious but then please tell me why it is not being done? Please don't tell me economic reasons because it is proven to be more economical than the Monsanto plan for our world. Plus we seem to have enough to spend on starting illegal and unnecessary wars that are all based on lies in the first place.

9:38AM PDT on Sep 4, 2011

Why not capture carbon naturally, through trees and reforestation or afforestation?!

4:37AM PDT on Sep 1, 2011

I hope algae grown for bio-diesel will help very much in sequestering carbon. I know bio-diesel when it is burned releases the carbon again. But at least the same carbon keeps getting recycled. U S military already buys bio-diesel from algae. It is just a matter of scaling up quantity and lowering price as better know how improves efficiency. Federal government should BRIBE big oil to develop bio-diesel from algae as a commercial product to REPLACE petroleum. Solar and wind are good also for electricity including for electric cars. But we do need a liquid fuel for big freight trucks and airplanes.

11:51AM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

"...it’s hard to believe that sequestration is a preferable alternative to simply not producing the C02 in the first place..."

Hardly hard to believe. We will procrastinate until no more.

6:55AM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

The only place where Carbon Dioxide is portrayed as a problem is Zionist controlled media and those collaborating with the globalist agenda. The Carbon Tax they are trying to implement is a foot in the door to intrude in peoples and nations business and police/control the world under the camouflage of fake global warming while they continue to poison us with very real and intentional threats to human life.

Tons of mercury vapour is being intentionally released into our air for example. It is easily filtered completely. Mercury is among the most potent neurotoxins and even in minute quantities it is a disaster for all forms of life. There are many other pollutions that are intentional; water splitting means there is absolutely no need to burn petrochemicals which release dangerous toxins including mercury but that free and clean energy is still (since 1985) being covered up.

6:53AM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

Carbon dioxide is harmless in small quantities. All living entities either use it or create it. Air has always contained it. It is what carbonates fizzy drinks.

It is not good to be using large concentrations in confined spaces but it is inconceivable that the levels in the air would ever become harmful. They would have to be about 120 times higher to present significant health risks.

I am all for eradicating pollution altogether but on the list of industrial pollution it would come in near last.

Even the EPA does not mention Carbon dioxide as a major problem in pollution. Its top six threats are; ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and lead. On the Dangerous Pollutants website it is also entirely absent.

9:07PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

BUT...WHAT DO YOU LEARN AT SCHOLL? OF COURSE CO2 CAN BE VERY POISONING! IF YOU SHUT YOURSELF IN A ROOM WITH A CARBON EATER WITH NO ENTRY OF AIR YOU WILL DIE DURING YOUR SLEEP!
TO MUCH CO2 IS VERY DAMAGING TO THE PLANET! TREES AN OCEANS CAN ONLY ABSORB A LIMITED AMOUNT.MORE THAN THIS AMOUNT MESS UP THE BALANCE OF NATURE AND HAVE A DIRECT EFECT ON HUMANS!

8:52PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

ROBERT P. D. IS RIGTH!

7:08PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Scott M.- excessive CO2 is NOT good for the planet- some CO2 is good because during the day plants absorb CO2 and produce oxygen, but excessive CO2 causes acid buildup in the ocean. It's like saying lots of fertilizer is good for plants, so it's ok for it to flow into the ocean- too much fertilizer causes excessive algae growth, then the plants die and the rotting mass actually uses up oxygen, causing dead zones in the water. So small scale CO2 is good for a greenhouse, but large scale CO2 messes up the planet.

5:44PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Thanks for sharing

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