Carbon Dioxide Underground Storage Project Advances

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Plans for North Dakota's first carbon dioxide storage project are moving forward.

State regulators granted several approvals Tuesday for the underground storage of carbon emissions from Red Trail Energy's ethanol plant near Richardton.

“This is a landmark day,” State Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms told the state Industrial Commission.

Gas from the plant will be compressed and injected into a 6,400-foot well, then form a plume within the underground rocks that make up the Broom Creek formation.

The commission's approvals are for underground storage below Red Trail’s proposed injection site in Stark County.

North Dakota officials are promoting the state's geology for additional carbon storage projects. Researchers say the state's rocks could store as much as 250 billion tons of carbon dioxide. Red Trail produces a fraction of that amount annually with 180,000 tons.

A federal tax credit has driven interest in carbon capture and storage projects, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

North Dakota was the first state to receive approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to permit projects like Red Trail’s. The historic nature of Tuesday’s Industrial Commission meeting came up several times before the three-member panel chaired by Gov. Doug Burgum approved the orders related to the ethanol plant.

“This vote would not have been possible without years of work by a lot of people,” Burgum said.