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Photo via Archer Daniels Midland.

Most of the focus on carbon capture technology involves coal-fired power plants. But what’s being touted as America’s first large-scale industrial carbon capture facility isn’t at a power plant, but at an ethanol refinery in Illinois.

The project, at the Archer Daniels Midland biofuels plant in Decatur, will capture carbon dioxide released as corn is fermented into ethanol, resulting in a “negative carbon footprint” for the fuel, according to a Department of Energy news release.

The DOE says starting in 2013, the plant will capture 2,500 metric tons of CO2 per day and sequester it in sandstone formations at a depth of about 7,000 feet. The formation, known as the Mount Simon Sandstone, is said to have the potential to store billions of tons of CO2 (As a point of comparison, an average car emits about 5 metric tons of CO2 per year).

The project is being driven by the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium, which seeks to develop carbon dioxide sequestration sites in the Illinois Basin, a geological formation that spans much of Illinois and parts of Indiana and Kentucky.

(h/t Politico’s Morning Energy)

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Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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