EPA approves injection permit for Ill. ethanol project

Source: Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, September 29, 2014

U.S. EPA today announced that it had approved permits for Archer Daniels Midland Co. allowing the underground injection and storage of carbon dioxide emissions from an ethanol plant.

The agency issued the permits under the relatively new Underground Injection Control Program Class VI well designation, meant to facilitate carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) activities.

Plans call for ADM to trap 1.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year from the ethanol plant and store it underground in Decatur, Ill.

The agency said ADM can begin drilling the injection well in November. The company must prove the system’s integrity before moving forward, and must conduct ongoing monitoring.

Earlier this month, EPA made history by issuing the first Class VI permits for a CCS project (Greenwire, Sept. 3). Those approvals will allow the FutureGen 2.0 public-private partnership to inject emissions from a retrofitted coal-fired power plant, also in Illinois.

Even though some landowners remain concerned about injection activities, environmental and industry groups both generally agree with CCS permits as a way of addressing climate change (E&ENews PM, July 22). Still, commenters asked EPA to address issues including possible increased seismicity from the underground storage of CO2.