The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved permits allowing the FutureGen Industrial Alliance Inc. to inject carbon dioxide deep underground near Jacksonville, Illinois. This process – known as “carbon sequestration” – is a means of storing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. These four identical permits are the nation’s first Class VI underground injection permits for carbon sequestration.
FutureGen plans to capture carbon dioxide produced by a retrofitted coal-fueled power plant formerly operated by Ameren Energy Resources in Meredosia, Illinois. The captured carbon dioxide would then be transported and injected deep underground via the four proposed wells, which would be constructed in Morgan County. FutureGen’s goal is to capture and inject 1.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year for 20 years. Sequestering 1.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year is the equivalent of eliminating carbon emissions from 232,000 cars.
EPA completed a technical review of the permits and responded to over 280 public comments before approving the permits. FutureGen can begin drilling the wells next month in preparation for injecting liquefied carbon dioxide. The four wells will be drilled from the same location to a depth of approximately 4,000 feet underground. FutureGen must demonstrate the integrity of the wells before injecting carbon dioxide and conduct extensive monitoring at the location.