On Wednesday January 24, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Class VI permit to Wabash Valley Resources, accelerating carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the MRCI region. This Class VI permit will allow Wabash Valley Resources to construct two carbon dioxide (CO2) storage wells to capture CO2 from their gasification plant in West Terre Haute, Indiana. The company estimates they can capture and store 1.65 million metric tons of CO2 annually, which will be stored across the two wells. The next step for Wabash Valley Resources to begin injection is the pre-operation phase, which requires them to conduct tests and install monitoring technologies to further analyze the geology in Indiana and submit their findings to the EPA. If there are no issues from the tests, Wabash Valley Resources can begin injecting CO2.
The gasification plant is planning to produce hydrogen, which will be used to make ammonia fertilizer.
The permit that the EPA issued to Wabash Valley Resources is a significant step in promoting carbon storage in the United States. This is the first permit issued in a decade, the last permit being issued to an ethanol plant in Illinois in 2014. The process to obtain a Class VI permit is lengthy due to the level of thoroughness the EPA reviews each permit application. For many companies, their applications have been under review for over two years. Prior to Wednesday, Wabash Valley Resources was one of the 179 well applications being reviews by the EPA. The EPA is working to decrease the amount of time it takes to issue Class VI permits, working to keep the time frame within 24 months.
On July 7, 2023, the EPA released two draft permits to the public as part of the Public Comment Period, which is an opportunity for the public to review and comment on the drafts and included a public hearing. In response to the comments, the EPA issued a 34-page document that responded to these comments. The general scope of the comments that the EPA responded to covers 27 topics, which include concerns about the suitability for carbon sequestration, protection of Underground Sources of Drinking Water (USDW), and environmental justice. Check out the full report here
And read Wabash Valley Resources’ comments on the issuance of draft permits in July 2023 here.