North Dakota regulators will hold a public hearing next month for a project to capture more carbon dioxide from Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Great Plains Synfuels Plant.
Basin subsidiary Dakota Gasification Co. operates the Mercer County plant, and it’s applied to the state Public Service Commission for a permit to build a 7-mile pipeline from the facility to six proposed wells where it would inject the carbon dioxide deep underground into the Broom Creek rock formation for permanent storage. The company already pipes carbon dioxide generated by the plant north to old Canadian oil fields where it’s used to boost their oil output.
Basin says the synfuels plant’s carbon capture equipment is working at about two-thirds of its capacity to meet the demand of Canadian customers, and more of the gas could be stored locally.
The project aims to take advantage of a federal tax credit for capturing carbon emissions and preventing the greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change. A number of other projects with a similar objective have been proposed at coal and ethanol plants in North Dakota.
The proposed pipeline is estimated to cost $25 million, according to the application Dakota Gasification has filed with the PSC. The company anticipates starting work at the site this summer and having the line operational by August 2022.
The PSC has scheduled a hearing for 8:30 a.m. July 12 at the Energy Wellness Center in Beulah, 1900 Central Ave. N.
State and company officials recently announced the potential sale of the synfuels plant to Bakken Energy, which is working with Mitsubishi Power Americas on a plan to establish a hydrogen hub across the state. The deal with Dakota Gasification is not complete, but it involves redeveloping the plant for hydrogen production and continuing to capture its carbon emissions. The plant produces synthetic natural gas derived from coal, along with a host of other products.
The Mercer County Commission approved a plan last week to drill a test well in the area, one of the key steps companies proposing carbon storage projects take to study the rocks where they plan to inject the emissions. Basin spokeswoman Joan Dietz said carbon dioxide will not be injected at the test well site, but information from the test well will help the company make long-term plans. The well will be drilled on land owned by the Coteau Properties mining company.
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