Hoeven Announces Nearly $3.5 Million for UND’s EERC to Test Geological Storage of CO2

Senator Secured Regulatory Primacy for North Dakota over Geologic Storage, Working to Advance EERC’s CCS Technology Development

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee, today announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded nearly $3.5 million to the Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota (UND). The funds will allow EERC to establish a field laboratory in the South Central Cut Bank oil field in Montana to test the geological storage of carbon dioxide (CO2), with the goal of advancing similar storage in the Williston Basin. 

Efforts like this are in part made possible due to North Dakota’s regulatory primacy over Class VI injection wells, which are used for the geologic, long-term storage of CO2. Hoeven began working toward achieving this priority in 2008 and recently secured final approval for the state’s application, the first such approval in the nation, which will help advance carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects across the state.

“Today’s grant will help EERC advance CCS technologies and not only demonstrate that they are technically-feasible, but also make them commercially-viable,” said Hoeven. “We’ve worked hard to make sure the pieces are in place to implement this technology in North Dakota, both for geological storage and for enhanced oil recovery, including providing the state with regulatory primacy and securing funding through DOE for research like Project Tundra and the Allam Cycle. We will continue our efforts to ensure the federal government supports the good work of EERC and their partners.”

Today’s award aligns with Hoeven’s efforts to support the development of CCS technologies and forge a true path forward for coal in the nation’s energy mix. To this end, Hoeven recently hosted Energy Secretary Rick Perry in North Dakota, so he could learn firsthand about the breakthrough energy developments occurring in the state. This includes two project’s being undertaken by the EERC:

  • Project Tundra, a post-combustion technology to retrofit existing power plants, which is being developed by EERC, Allete Clean Energy, Minnkota Power and BNI Coal.
  • The Allam Cycle, technology for new coal and natural gas power plants that uses supercritical CO2 to increase efficiency and allow emissions to be captured. This project is being developed by EERC, Basin Electric and Allete Inc. 

Prior to this visit, Hoeven reaffirmed Perry’s commitment to support the DOE’s cooperative agreements with research organizations like the EERC as well as the DOE’s Fossil Energy Research programs. The senator also secured increased funding for DOE’s carbon capture and carbon storage research programs in the Senate’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 funding legislation. Among other things, the bill provides $30 million for a new competitive grant for which the next phase of Project Tundra would be eligible, as well as $25 million to develop supercritical CO2 technologies for coal and natural gas plants like the Allam Cycle.

In addition, Hoeven continues advancing his CO2 Regulatory Certainty Act, legislation that aligns tax guidelines with existing federal regulations at the EPA to ensure CCS project developers can use the Section 45Q tax credit, as well as his legislation to extend the refined coal tax credit.