SPIRITWOOD, N.D. (Midwest AgEnergy) – Midwest AgEnergy Group (MAG), the parent company to ethanol biorefineries, Blue Flint, near Underwood and Dakota Spirit, near Spiritwood, announced it is taking the next step in a feasibility level study on Carbon Capture and Storage.

The Blue Flint Ethanol facility near Underwood, ND purchases about 25 million bushels of corn and produces over 70 million gallons of ethanol along with about 200,000 tons of dry distillers grains each year. It also produces about 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).

The company is investigating the potential to capture the CO2 from the plant and safely sequester it from the atmosphere. Geologic Storage is the process of injecting CO2 captured from an industrial or energy-related source into deep subsurface rock formations for long-term storage.

This is part of a process frequently referred to as “carbon capture and storage” or CCS. Preventing CO2 from entering the atmosphere will decrease the carbon intensity of ethanol fuel produced at the facility. The project could also create federal income tax credits for investors.

“We had the Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) conduct a technical feasibility study on the geology surrounding our site for its potential to safely store CO2 from Blue Flint. They concluded that CCS appears technically viable but need much more detailed information about the geology in the area surrounding the plant” said Adam Dunlop – Director of Regulatory and Technical Services at MAG.

The next step will be a geophysical survey to gather information about rock formations buried deep beneath the plant and surrounding area. MAG plans to contract with geophysicists who will use vibrations to study the geology in about a nine square mile area surrounding the plant. The survey method is similar to what is used for oil and gas exploration and is commonly completed in western ND. Analysis of the data collected in the study will help to determine if CO2 storage is possible and could lead to additional investigations.