Hoeven, EERC welcome grant to improve carbon dioxide capture technology

Hoeven: $1.4 million grant is latest step toward "cracking the code" of carbon capture

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U.S. Sen. John Hoeven discusses a $1.4 million Department of Energy award to the EERC for new carbon capture technology on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, with UND President Andrew Armacost, EERC Vice President for Strategic Partnerships John Harju and EERC CEO Charles Gorecki.

GRAND FORKS — A $1.4 million grant designed to enhance the capability of geologic carbon dioxide storage shows the impact of the Energy and Environmental Research Center's "high quality work" and is "another step in the journey" toward successfully capturing carbon, local and federal leaders said Friday, Feb. 3, during a press conference.

Sen. John Hoeven announced the awarding of the grant to the EERC at a ceremony on Friday.

UND President Andrew Armacost praised the EERC’s commitment to advancing the energy interests of North Dakota.

“I’m extraordinarily proud of the work that happens at the EERC, to ensure we have clean, reliable and abundant sources of energy,” said Armacost. “Today’s announcement is an example of its high-quality work, and the commitment it has to its mission. I’d also like to thank Senator Hoeven for his support at the federal level to make these opportunities happen.”

The grant specifically addresses carbon capture utilization and storage, or CCUS operations, at the Great Plains Synfuels Plant in Beulah, North Dakota. According to a press release from Hoeven’s office, the expansion of CCUS technology under the grant makes the plant the largest CCUS project utilizing geologic storage in the world.


Hoeven, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said the grant is evidence of the state’s status as an energy innovator.

“I like to talk about carbon capture in terms of ‘cracking the code,’” said Hoeven. “This is the second time North Dakota has cracked the code — the first instance being our discovery of both a commercially and technologically viable way to extract oil from the Bakken formation. For many years, we have had the most advanced coal-fired energy industry in the nation, thanks to the work of the EERC and others. This $1.4 million grant is just another step in the journey and path you’ve created toward successfully capturing carbon, and having a coal-fired energy program that not just survives, but thrives.”

The captured carbon dioxide to which Hoeven referred will be stored in class VI wells, housed in geologic formations approximately a mile below ground level, in a process known as “carbon sequestration.” Hoeven said the work of the EERC, including a monitoring agreement, will ensure the process is safe and transparent.

“Whatever your view is on what different sources of energy should be used, think of how important it is that we have the EERC, an independent entity, with the scientific background to determine where the carbon should be stored,” said Hoeven. “People will always know how much is being stored, where it’s being stored and that it’s stored safely.”

Charles Gorecki, CEO of the EERC, concurred with Hoeven’s assessment of the project’s viability and safety.

“One of the great things about this project is that it shows people you don’t have to choose between clean and reliable energy,” said Gorecki.

In addition to the grant, Hoeven said the Great Plains Synfuels Plant is eligible for a 45Q tax credit, an IRS incentive for CCUS operations.

Banish covers news pertaining to K-12 and higher education, as well as county commission coverage.
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