North Dakota displays energy leadership with Project Tundra

Recently, the North Dakota Industrial Commission looked west and saw a new sun coming up in the east. That vision is what Project Tundra is all about. Capturing carbon dioxide from the existing Milton R. Young Station near Center, ND, will not only provide better environmental stewardship by the lignite industry, but the CO2 can be used for enhanced oil recovery by the petroleum industry – producing oil that would otherwise stay stranded in underground rock formations.

Imagine the wealth, the jobs and the lives that can be enhanced by this proven CO2 capture technology – a waste product of burning coal can be used for enhanced oil recovery in the state’s nearly 2,000 traditional oil wells that have already been drilled.

The decision recently made by the governor, the attorney general and the agriculture commissioner is a huge step in funding a $31 million Front-end Engineering and Development (FEED) Study. A second step will come in early 2019 when the Department of Energy (DOE) looks at Project Tundra and decides whether or not to match the $15 million in state money.

If the DOE says yes, North Dakota will be at the forefront of technology that could revolutionize the phrase “low-carbon energy” because coal would now be front and center. It would also transform western North Dakota oil fields – giving older fields a new lease on life.

North Dakota is the quintessential all-of-the-above energy producer because our state is both energy-rich and business-friendly. This combination provides fertile opportunities for inventors to develop energy solutions using energy-dense natural resources, such as oil and lignite.

Project Tundra is supported by the state of North Dakota, two of its largest industries and researchers at the Energy & Environmental Research Center. This team approach is appropriate as we work together to produce energy solutions that will greatly benefit the state, its businesses and its citizens.

Jason Bohrer is president and CEO of Lignite Energy Council