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US begins construction on first large-scale carbon capture and storage facility

Construction began on Wednesday on the first industrial scale US carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility in Decatur, Illinois.

The project received $141M (£86.5M) in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as well as £40.7M in private sector cost-sharing and aims to capture and store 1M.t of CO2 per year produced as the result of processing corn into fuel-grade ethanol from the nearby Archer Daniels Midland biofuels plant.

“This first-of-its-kind project will bring jobs to Illinois while advancing technology that the US can sell around the world,” said US energy secretary Steven Chu.

Regional delivery partnership the Department’s Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium is heading up the project and is one of seven partnerships set up by the US Department of Energy to determine the best approaches to CCS. The Midwest consortium is led by the Illinois State Geological Survey, energy firm Archer Daniels Midland Company, geological survey firm Schlumberger Carbon Services, and the energy department’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

How it will work

Around 2,500t of CO2 will be sequestered per day in the saline Mount Simon Sandstone formation at depths of around 2.1km. It is estimated that the sandstone formation can potentially store billions of tons of CO2 and has the overall potential to sequester all of the more than 250M.t of CO2 produced each year by industry in the Illinois Basin region. CCS is expected to begin in late summer 2013

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