Biorecro cooperates with all major BECCS projects in the world. Three of them are presented here.
The world's first BECCS project is situated in Illinois, in the United States. The first tonne of carbon dioxide was sequestered in this facility on the 4th of November 2011, after years of preparations and construction. Presently carbon dioxide is injected at a rate of 300 000 tonnes per year but this figure will be augmented to 1 million tonnes per year from 2013. The project is mainly financed by the US Department of Energy. Without additional funding injection will terminate in 2016.
Photo: Wes Peck
The project is led by the Illinois State Geological Survey at the University of Illinois. Biorecro, together with 47 other partners, form the Project Advisory Group of the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC).
Carbon dioxide emerges as a by-product in ethanol production. It has previously been released into the atmosphere as part of the renewable carbon cycle. With BECCS, the carbon dioxide is instead captured and led into large compressors. These convert the carbon dioxide from a gas to a kind of liquid (so-called supercritical phase). Then, the carbon dioxide is led through pipeline into a well that has been drilled down to more than 2000 meters of depth. At this great depth, the saline aquifer Mount Simon Sandstone is situated - a natural geological formation consisting of sandstone permeated by saltwater. The carbon dioxide flows into the formation through small pores in the sandstone and cannot surface again, as other rock formations above are non-permeable. Thus, the carbon dioxide is captured in the ground, where over the course of millennia it is converted into carbonates, which can be described as a kind of rock.
In cooperation with the Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota, Biorecro is planning a pilot BECCS plant to demonstrate future technology for bio-energy in combination with storage of carbon dioxide. EERC conducts research on third-generation bio-energy technology, where the biomass is gasified before combustion. This will bring about higher efficiency, as the same quantity of biomass can generate a greater amount of energy compared to current combustion methods. In addition, the gasification technology is well suited to be supplemented with carbon capture and storage.
Photo: Wes Peck
In addition to its work with developing combustion technologies, EERC is heading a partnership for demonstration of carbon capture and storage, the Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership (PCOR), with PCOR and its 102 other partners are conducting carbon storage demonstration at several sites in the northern Midwest and Canada.
By combining research on gasification and demonstration projects for carbon storage, a pilot plant with cutting edge technology is planned for construction within the next few years under the leadership of Biorecro and EERC.
On the Midwest prairie in the United States, a BECCS plant that will be put into service in 2013 is under construction, lead by the Kansas Geological Survey. Drill holes for storage and monitoring were completed in 2011, leading down to the subterranean formations where the storage will take place. The next step is the construction of the facility for collection and road transport of carbon dioxide from an ethanol plant.
Photo: Dana Wreath
The project is part of the federal US government investments in research and demonstration of carbon capture and storage (CCS). The project has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, supplemented by funds from participating partners.
The geological formation where the carbon dioxide is to be stored is a sandstone aquifer at 1600 m of depth. The carbon dioxide is taken from a plant that produces ethanol from the durra cereal, which is grown on the surrounding fields in the dry and hot summer climate of Kansas.