Illinois shares successes from high-profile CO2 injection projects

Scientists from the EU-funded SECURe project continued their fact-finding tour with a visit to the Illinois Basin-Decatur Project (IBDP) and Illinois Industrial Sources CCS (ICCS) CO2 injection sites.

The group also visited the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), which has managed and run the IBDP project – its first injection site – through the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium.

The projects are based at the Archer Daniels Midland’s Decatur plant in Illinois, which transforms raw farm products such as corn and soy beans into other products, including bioethanol. The CO2 captured from this process has allowed IBDP to store CO2 at a rate of 1000 tonnes a day, with a total injection to date of 1 million tonnes. The ISGS and ICCS projects to date have collectively stored 2.3 Mt of CO2 in the subsurface.

The European visitors were interested to learn about the adaptive monitoring strategy employed by ISGS at the site, enabling the monitoring equipment for the next phase of the project to be reduced and targeted at regulatory requirements and managing overall project risk.

There were many cross-over areas of interest between the hosts and visitors, including well-integrity, monitoring, risk assessment, and public outreach. Opportunities for ongoing discussions were also identified.

Sallie Greenberg, Associate Director of Energy & Minerals at ISGS said: “We were happy to host a visit from the European SECURe project researchers and share information on risk assessment, public outreach and monitoring strategies and how they have evolved over time within our live CO2 injection project – the Illinois Basin - Decatur Project. It will be interesting to build on this meeting and learn more about some of the research initiatives, such as participatory monitoring, that the SECURe project is developing.”

Archer Daniels Midland and ISGS have linked up with the local college, Richland Community College, which offers courses preparing students for university, to provide training in community engagement – both directly via CCS courses and modules and indirectly through other activities in which the college participates.

The course ethos highlights the need to use all available emission reduction routes to mitigate for climate change, including carbon capture and storage, local wind and solar energy, and soil and biomass carbon sequestration – one approach being regeneration of prairie vegetation.

Aleksandra Lis of Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland, who is part of the team looking at participatory monitoring for the SECURe project said: “Visiting the CO2 injection project at Decatur gave a fascinating insight into public outreach put into practice, the need to listen and adapt, and the realisation that researchers and the community are often asking and trying to answer the same questions.”

All photos: Philippa Parmiter/SCCS

Main photo: Sallie Greenberg of ISGS talks to Michael Kupoluyi (Risktec) and Jonathan Pearce (BGS)

Middle: Karen Kirk and Helen Taylor-Curran (both of BGS) looking at the Richmond Community College teacher’s pack materials

Bottom: Wall board at Richland Community College showing large point sources of CO2 in North America