Carbon Capture | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Carbon Capture

Blue Flint Ethanol starts CO2 storage research

Oct 14, 2020
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A single drilling rig is working in an area close to the Coal Creek Station Power Plant, and the Blue Flint Ethanol plant, both north of Washburn.

But it’s not drilling for oil.

Instead, it is taking core samples from the area, to see if carbon dioxide can be stored there.

"We are striving to produce a 'zero-carbon' fuel, to have zero-effect on the environment," said Midwest Ag Energy CEO Jeff Zueger, speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony for the project.

Members of the Lignite Research Council have again expressed support for a research project on carbon capture and storage to benefit the Blue Flint Ethanol plant.

That plant is co-located with the Coal Creek Station power plant. That plant – owned by Great River Energy – is scheduled to close in 2022. The CO2 steam it produces is used to produce ethanol from corn.

The project is to test the geology of the area to see if would be able to support carbon storage. The project would cost $7 million, and $3.4 million would come from the Lignite Research Fund.

A state senator from Beulah told an interim Legislative committee there’s a lot of concern in Coal Country about the planned closure of the Coal Creek Station power plant near Underwood.

The plant’s owner – Great River Energy – has said it plans to close the plant in 2022, replacing it with wind power from Minnesota, as well as natural gas. The plant runs on lignite from the Falkirk Mine. And it employs a number of people in central North Dakota.

Great River said it had been looking for a buyer, but couldn't find one.

'Project Tundra' getting closer to fruition

Jun 17, 2019

It’s called “Project Tundra.”

It will retrofit the Milton R. Young power plant, owned by Minnkota Power Cooperative, to capture carbon dioxide. That CO2 would be used for enhanced oil recovery.

It's a $1.2 billion project.

The Energy and Environmental Research Center at UND is partnering with Minnkota.

"The next step is called a "FEED" study, for 'Front End Engineering Design," said EERC director Tom Erickson. "That's the final step before you go out and get financing, and construct the facility.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

With the Clean Power Plan out, officials in North Dakota say they are still committed to finding ways to capture carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

They’re eyeing a project under construction in Texas to build a zero-emission gas plant, a small-scale version of the Allam Cycle outside Houston that’s slated to fire up next year.

Amy Sisk / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s lignite coal industry has ambitious -- and pricey -- plans to capture carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, which industry leaders highlighted Thursday at a conference in Bismarck.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

Coal state lawmakers want to make cleaning up coal more economically attractive. A bipartisan group of lawmakers announced Wednesday they are re-introducing a bill to expand tax credits for projects to capture carbon dioxide.

The coal industry faces a big problem in cleaning up emissions: cost. It’s often a barrier to moving clean coal technology out of the research stage and getting it to work on a commercial scale.

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy



If the coal industry is to survive, its savior may be something often touted by President Donald Trump when he talks energy.

“We’re going to have clean coal, really clean coal,” he said earlier this year in announcing an executive order to roll back the emission-targeting Clean Power Plan.

Courtesy EERC

An ethanol producer with a plant at Richardton will be working with the Energy and Environmental Research Center on a carbon capture project.

The Industrial Commission has awarded the project $490,000. That's half the projected $980,000 cost.

"When you make ethanol, it comes with a "CI" value, a carbon-intensity value," said Dustin Willett, the chief operating officer of Red Trail Energy. "The lower the "CI" value, the better it is for the earth, as well as from a marketing standpoint."

The CO@ comes from the ethanol fermenters at the plant.

PSC officially weigs in on proposed EPA carbon rule

Nov 26, 2014

The North Dakota Public Service Commission is officially weighing in on the EPA’s proposed rules to cut carbon emissions.

The rule says the US needs to reduce carbon emissions 30 percent by the year 2030. North Dakota would be required to reduce emissions 11 percent.

Commission chairman Brian Kalk says the PSC response comes down to three major topics.