Red Trail Energy CCS
First Operational Commercial-Scale CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS) Project in North Dakota
Red Trail Energy, LLC (RTE), an ethanol producer near Richardton, North Dakota, is currently operating a CO2 capture facility adjacent to the RTE ethanol facility, to ultimately inject about 180,000 tonnes CO2 annually more than a mile below RTE property for permanent storage. After a 5-year investigative period conducted by the EERC, in partnership with the North Dakota Industrial Commission Renewable Energy Program and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the RTE CCS Project was determined a technically viable option for the significant reduction of CO2 emissions from ethanol production. The investigation was also supported by the EERC-led Plains CO2 Reduction (PCOR) Partnership, which includes over 200 partners developing and demonstrating technologies for geologic CO2 storage since 2003. Work continues as the project transitions into the first fully operational commercial CCS facility in North Dakota.
The Path to CO2 Storage
On October 19, 2021, the first Class VI permit in North Dakota was approved by the North Dakota Industrial Comission (NDIC) during the construction and operation phase.
Results of this study phase indicated that commercial CCS is a technically feasible option for the significant reduction of CO2 emissions from ethanol production at the RTE site. In addition, CCS may also be economically feasible for RTE should pathways emerge for ethanol-CCS in developing low-carbon fuel (LCF) programs.
Following support for technical and economic viability of the RTE CCS Project, site-specific data and designs were generated to garner capture system vendor bids, characterize the environment (monitoring) and subsurface geology (seismic) for permit preparation, and develop informational materials for discussions with communities, stakeholders, and regulatory officials.
This phase resulted in the first geologic CO2 storage facility in the state of North Dakota, “Red Trail Richardton Ethanol Broom Creek Storage Facility #1”, was established with formal approval of RTE’s North Dakota CO2 Storage Facility (Class VI) permit on October 19, 2021. Major activities included drilling a stratigraphic test (coring, testing, logging – see Drilling factsheet below) followed by extensive laboratory analyses and evaluation, modeling and simulation of potential CO2 injection and storage, and continued collaboration with incentive and regulatory officials.
Construction & Operation
Red Trail Energy established commercial contracts for the capture facility, installation of wells and monitoring equipment, flow line and other CCS system infrastructure. With commercial operation starting on June 16, 2022, RTE now begins decades of monitoring and reporting as the systems are optimized. The EERC continues to provide technical support and interpretation of regulatory and incentive programs.