North Dakota-based investor group Red Trail Energy has opened a new ethanol facility near Richardton in July, 2022. This is the first carbon capture and storage site allowed under state and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements.
Red Trail Energy was formed to finance, construct and operate a corn-based ethanol production facility located near Richardton. The facility worth $99 million began producing ethanol at the beginning of 2007. The new project’s carbon capture technology will allow for the reduction of the CO2 footprint of the ethanol plant.
North Dakota’s Industrial Commission approved the facility last October, allowing it to perform carbon capture. This is the first such project in the state.
According to Red Trail Energy, the process captures 100% of the CO2 emissions, which are then stored long-term deep underground in the Broom Creek formation.
Governor of North Dakota Doug Burgum said in a statement that the new facility paves the way for other innovative projects in energy production. Such projects contribute to national security, the country’s independence of foreign energy sources, and the lowering of prices, he said.
“By capturing and storing the carbon from ethanol production, Red Trail Energy is helping to pave the way for the long-term viability of current energy sources in North Dakota with innovation and environmental stewardship,” Burgum said.
“North Dakota is a leader in carbon capture technology,” said Congressman Kelly Armstrong. “It is fitting that the first facility permitted under state primacy to capture and store CO2 is in our state, where local regulators are best equipped to review these projects.”
In 2018, North Dakota became the first U.S. state to be granted primacy approval for carbon capture. The Red Trail Energy project is thus the first facility to operate under primacy approval.
Some scientists, however, argue that the carbon capture process is too expensive and inefficient in fighting the climate crisis on a large scale.