A facility designed to permanently store more than 1 millions of carbon dioxide a year has entered service in Illinois.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) operates the Illinois Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage (ICCS) project, which captures carbon dioxide (CO2) created as a byproduct at ADM’s Decatur corn processing facility. The captured gas will be stored almost a mile and a half underground in a geologic formation known as Mt. Simon Sandstone.

With the capability to store 1.1 million tons of carbon annually, the facility is designed to demonstrate the commercial-scale applicability of carbon capture and storage technology in a saline reservoir. The project is currently permitted to operate for five years and has the potential to store up to 5.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.

The Illinois facility is the 12th large-scale carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) facility operating in North America, and one of the first large-scale applications of CCS on biofuels production in the world.

Pilot Project

Previously, ADM removed and stored approximately a million tons of carbon over three years as part of the smaller-scale Illinois Basin – Decatur Project, led by the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium at the University of Illinois.

That project tested the storage potential of the Mt. Simon Sandstone and the integrity of the overlying sealant rocks. The Energy Department (DOE) announced in June 2010 that Decatur was one of three projects to receive up to $612 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - matched by $368 million in private funding - to demonstrate large-scale carbon capture and storage from industrial sources.


The larger-scale project, which began operations in April, is operated by ADM and is administered by the DOE's Office of Fossil Energy and managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). It operates under and by a cost share agreement with ADM, the University of Illinois through the Illinois State Geological Survey, Schlumberger Carbon Services, and Richland Community College.

The ADM owned corn-to-ethanol plant in Decatur, Illinois was commissioned in 1978 and is one of the largest in the United States, with a production capacity of around 350 million gallons per year. At capacity, it consumes about 180 million bushels of corn annually. Anaerobic fermentation produces CO2 as a byproduct from processing corn into fuel-grade ethanol. The Decatur corn-to-ethanol plant produces over one million tonnes per annum of CO2 at production capacity.

How It Works

According to the Global CCS Institute web site, the Illinois Industrial CCS Project expands the CO2 capture and storage capacity to that of a commercial-scale operation .

In the Illinois Industrial CCS Project, CO2 collected at ADM's Decatur plant is sent via a 24-inch short length pipeline (of 460 metres / 1,500 feet) to a dehydration/compression facility. This facility has a design capacity to deliver up to 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per day to the injection site. The gas stream before transport has a CO2 purity of greater than 99%.

The pipeline that transfers the CO2 from the compression/dehydration facility to the injection wellhead is an 8-inch diameter, 1.6 km / 1-mile-long pipeline.

In addition to the CO2 injection and monitoring facilities built under the initial pilot project, the Illinois Industrial CCS Project will also include one CO2 injection well (planned to be approximately 1,100 meters/3,700 feet from the IBDP CO2 injection well), one deep monitoring well and one geophysical well.

At the injection location, the top of the sandstone formation is 1,670 metres/5,500 feet below the surface. The CO2 will be injected into the lower part of the formation at a depth of approximately 2,100 meters/7,000 feet. The Mt. Simon formation is overlain by the 150-meter/500-foot Eau Claire formation, which acts as the primary cap rock seal. Two other shale formations, the Maquoketa and New Albany shales, are present at shallower depths and act as secondary and tertiary seals.

The monitoring and verification plan includes near-surface and deep-subsurface activities. The former includes soil CO2 flux measurements and shallow groundwater sampling for geochemical analysis. The latter includes geophysical (seismic) surveys and passive seismic surveys in the cap rock seal locations and geophysical surveys, geochemical sampling, and pressure and temperature monitoring in the injection zone.