The operators of an ethanol plant in North Dakota say the state's first carbon capture and storage project is up and running.
Carbon emissions from Red Trail Energy's plant near Richardton are injected thousands of feet into the earth as a way to combat climate change, as less carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere.
Red Trail CEO Gerald Bachmeier said that after six years of research, development and investment, the company is celebrating the achievement which "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," Bachmeier said in a statement.
North Dakota's Industrial Commission approved the project last fall, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
Gov. Doug Burgum, who leads the commission, has a goal of making North Dakota carbon neutral by 2030, which involves striking a balance between the carbon dioxide released from within the state and the amount of emissions contained or offset in some way.
Burgum has called the state’s rock formations as a "geologic jackpot" for having the right elements for permanent carbon dioxide storage. Researchers say the state’s rocks could store as much as 250 billion tons of carbon dioxide. Red Trail produces a small fraction of that amount each year, 180,000 tons.