Richland Community College celebrated its latest global educational outreach project at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the National Sequestration Education Center today. The project is an exciting partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy—National Energy Technology Laboratory, Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), Schlumberger Carbon Services, and the University of Illinois-Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS). The Illinois Industrial Carbon Capture and Sequestration (Illinois ICCS) project, led by ADM, is the largest commercial-scale saline sequestration demonstration project in the United States.
Richland Community College Board Chairman, Dale Colee, said, “Today Richland celebrates the partnership that was forged to serve a larger public purpose – to develop and demonstrate an integrated system of CO2 capture from an ethanol plant and permanent geologic storage or sequestration.”
The overall project objective is to develop and demonstrate an integrated system of CO2 capture from an ethanol plant and permanent geologic storage or “sequestration” in the Mount Simon Sandstone formation at depths of approximately 7,000 feet.
Decatur is home to two Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored projects demonstrating carbon capture and sequestration technology. The Illinois Basin – Decatur Project (IBDP), which was announced in January 2008, is injecting CO2 from ADM’s Decatur ethanol facility into the Mount Simon Sandstone at a rate of 1,000 metric tons per day. The Illinois Basin Decatur Project, led by ISGS, is designed to assess the ability of the Mount Simon Sandstone to receive and store one million metric tons of CO2 over three years.
The Illinois ICCS project, announced in June 2010, is a commercial-scale demonstration project designed to capture and store up to one million metric tons of CO2 per year. This project receives $141.4 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding from DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and another $66.5 million private sector cost-sharing.
Over the course of three years, the IBDP and Illinois ICCS projects together will inject up to 3.5 million metric tons of CO2, roughly the same amount generated by more than 650,000 passenger vehicles in a year, into the Mount Simon rock formation.
A key task of this project for Richland Community College is to construct and establish the National Sequestration Education Center (NSEC). The NSEC is a local, regional, national and international focal point for community outreach and academic programming by providing an innovative experiential learning and knowledge transfer environment. The NSEC will provide ongoing unique educational value to researchers and visitors from around the world by experiencing the sequestration technologies demonstrated on the Richland campus and in the surrounding Midwest communities.
“To reinforce the mission of Richland Community College, we continuously reimagine opportunities for education and training,” said Dr. Gayle Saunders, president of Richland Community College. “The National Sequestration Education Center will be the site where students will be prepared for careers as environmental researchers, policy analysts, engineers, geologists, and geophysicists to work in the Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage industry.”
In coordination with the project partners, Richland provides academic, development, and training and readiness services to prepare the local and regional workforce to enter sequestration careers within emerging CO2 capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) industries.
Participation in this project once again puts the College on the cutting edge of education and workforce training. Richland leads the nation in providing higher education Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Science degrees with a concentration on sequestration technologies and high school CCUS dual credit.