North Dakota CCS Feasibility Study

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The CarbonSAFE project is assessing potential storage for CO2 at about 6000 feet. The target rock layers include a sandstone (target storage zone) and adjacent shale layers (seals).

As part of the effort to address CO2 emissions from large stationary sources like coal-based energy facilities, this research is addressing the technical, financial, legal, and political challenges associated with developing a commercial-scale geologic CO2 storage site to facilitate the continued use of North Dakota’s abundant lignite resources as a fuel or industrial feedstock.

The 2-year project includes the collection of two deep geologic core samples—one in Oliver County and one in Mercer County—to better understand the geology that could be used for safe, permanent storage of carbon dioxide. Once the core holes are drilled and geologic samples are retrieved, the core holes will be filled with concrete and the land restored to its original appearance according to state and federal regulations. The formation of interest is about 6000 feet below the surface, and one of the objectives of this project is a preliminary look at the geology to see if further study is warranted.

The North Dakota CarbonSAFE project is a first step to evaluate commercial readiness for geologic storage of CO2. Open houses and other activities will communicate the details of the project and gather public input.

This project is managed by the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) in Grand Forks, North Dakota, on behalf of the project partners, which include the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the North Dakota Industrial Commission’s Lignite Research Program, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Minnkota Power Cooperative, ALLETE Clean Energy, BNI Energy, and North American Coal Corporation.

The 2-year feasibility study runs from spring 2017 to spring 2019 and is part of DOE’s nationwide, multiyear CarbonSAFE initiative structured to facilitate the development of commercial-scale carbon capture and storage projects ready to accept at least 50 million metric tons of CO2 emissions from human activity by 2025. If the assessment of the technical and nontechnical aspects of the CarbonSAFE study suggests that a CO2 storage project in this area may be feasible, the next step would be a detailed examination of the geology at possible specific storage sites

For more information, contact Wes Peck, Project Manager, EERC,, 701-777-5195.


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