Richardton, ND (KEYZ) North Dakota inches closer to carbon neutrality as the nation's first geological carbon capture site goes online.

Red Trail Energy officially began carbon capture and storage on Saturday, June 16, 2022 at its ethanol facility located near Richardton.  The project kicked-off after six years of research, development and investment to become the first carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) project in the U.S. to operate under state-led carbon storage regulations.¹

Red Trail Energy's ethanol facility near Richardton, ND (aerial view) / Odney Public Relations
Red Trail Energy's ethanol facility near Richardton, ND (aerial view) / Odney Public Relations
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The RTE ethanol plant emits an average of 180,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, with 100% of their CO2 emissions being captured, and 500 metric tons of CO2 injected underground per day.

Red Trail Energy's ethanol facility near Richardton, ND (ground view) / Odney Public Relations
Red Trail Energy's ethanol facility near Richardton, ND (ground view) / Odney Public Relations
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In a release issued Monday, Red Trail Energy Chief Executive Officer Gerald Bachmeier celebrated the launch commenting "Our success establishes a trail for other industries in the state to follow."  "The significance of implementing this project cannot be understated. From the beginning we wanted to set Red Trail Energy apart from other ethanol plants and this project puts us ahead of the curve in terms of lowering the carbon intensity of our ethanol.”

The commencement of the project was equally lauded by Governor Doug Burgum and the entirety of North Dakota's delegation to D.C. following the weekend announcement.

 “By capturing and storing the carbon from ethanol production, Red Trail Energy is helping to pave the way for the long-term viability of current energy sources in North Dakota with innovation and environmental stewardship,” Burgum said. “This project and similar carbon capture, utilization and storage projects currently in the works will allow COto be safely stored deep underground for generations to come and extracted if needed as current and future uses of carbon are developed. North Dakota continues to lead with innovation, not regulation, and advancements such as this will help us enhance national security and reduce reliance on foreign energy sources, protect the environment and bring down energy prices for consumers.”

North Dakota senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer were equally effusive.

“This is a tremendous example of how our state continues to pave the way for this critical energy technology, starting with the regulatory framework that we put in place nearly 15 years ago. CCUS benefits both renewable and traditional energy, empowering our nation to continue utilizing all of its abundant energy resources while reducing emissions. That’s the right path forward for our nation, helping us to both fight inflation and ensure Americans have access to affordable and reliable energy," said Senator John Hoeven.

Senator Kevin Cramer said, in part, "This is a huge milestone we all should celebrate. North Dakota had the foresight to secure Class VI primacy in 2018 under the Trump EPA, which laid the groundwork for carbon capture projects like this."

Hoeven and Cramer's colleague in the House, Representative Kelly Armstrong, also weighed-in saying "North Dakota is a leader in carbon capture technology. It is fitting that the first facility permitted under state primacy to capture and store CO2 is in our state, where local regulators are best equipped to review these projects.  Congratulations to Red Trail Energy on this historic milestone that will pave the way for CCUS across the country.”

¹Carbon Capture and Storage is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from a large stationary source, compressing the CO2  into a liquid and injecting it via a Class VI injection well deep underground for permanent geologic storage. North Dakota was the first state to be granted primacy from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2018. Wyoming followed in 2020.  Source: Press Release / Odney Public Relations