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Projeo, based in Illinois, is a project manager for companies’ projects that capture CO2 from industrial processes and permanently store it deep below ground (carbon capture and storage [CCS]). Projeo recently joined GTI as a wholly owned subsidiary.
“I’m having a blast working on subsurface CO2 storage,” said Nick Malkewicz, Projeo president. “We’ve come so far with the technology. The next big thing is scale.”
Malkewicz started his career as a wireline field engineer and led efforts to acquire technical data in oil and gas wells for operating companies. He’s been working on CO2 geologic storage projects for more than 13 years.
“What’s so interesting about geologic storage is that the industry spent decades developing techniques for pulling fossil fuels from rock, and now we are applying those same technologies and new ones for permanently storing CO2,” he said.
More than a decade ago, members of the Projeo team worked with the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Co. to support the Illinois Basin‒Decatur Project (IBDP). The IBDP project confirmed the ability of the Mt. Simon Sandstone to accept and store 1 million metric tons of CO2.
“It is formations like this that have been holding fossil fuels for millions of years,” Malkewicz said.
The project was originally regulated through an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permit as a CO2 injection well for long-term underground CO2 storage and later moved to the federal regulatory framework for Class VI CO2 injection. It is the only completed large-scale injection into a saline formation that is permitted to operate within the U.S. EPA Class VI regulatory framework, which creates a pathway for Mt. Simon Sandstone to be used for commercial CO2 storage.
Building on the IBDP project, ADM operates an Illinois industrial CCS project through a DOE grant to demonstrate an integrated system of capturing and processing industrial CO2 at an ethanol plant in Decatur, Illinois, and transporting it to the Mt. Simon Sandstone Formation for permanent geologic storage in deep sandstone.
Projeo has continued to play an active role in supporting the ongoing safe operations of the Class VI CO2 injection well, providing assistance with regulatory modeling, simulation, groundwater monitoring operations, well maintenance and seismic studies.
Projeo is working with the ISGS on multiple DOE Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) initiatives to ensure safe, secure, efficient and cost-effective CO2 containment in diverse geologic formations throughout the Illinois Basin.
“We use our technology, experience and skill to make human ideas work in harmony with nature, so we can reverse the effects of climate change,” Nick said. “When characterizing new sites, we’re experimenting with an acoustic fiber that is a 1/128th of an inch piece of glass. We can send the fiber tens of thousands of feet under the surface and use the reflected character of the light to deepen our understanding of the rocks miles underground.”
High-level technical evaluations provide detailed subsurface characterization and identify risks. The team then uses the data gathered to model and examine site performance and long-term security.
Projeo’s projects and initiatives demonstrate CCS technology at real-world, commercial-scale facilities for ammonia production, ethanol production and coal-fired power generation.
“We’re supporting the DOE mission to develop and advance CCS technologies for widespread commercial deployment by 2035,” Nick concluded. “We are confident in our strategy.”
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