Basin Electric, through its for-profit subsidiary, Dakota Gasification Company (Dakota Gas), owns and operates the Great Plains Synfuels Plant (Synfuels Plant). The Synfuels Plant is the only commercial-scale coal gasification plant in the country that manufactures natural gas. Located five miles northwest of Beulah, ND, the Synfuels Plant has been owned and operated by Dakota Gas since 1988. It is also the cleanest energy plant operating in the state of North Dakota, according to a comparison of emissions data available from the North Dakota Department of Health.
This $2.1-billion plant began operating in 1984. Using the Lurgi process, the Synfuels Plant gasifies lignite coal to produce valuable gases and liquids. Many coproducts are also produced and marketed in the United States and worldwide. A portion of the gas produced is used to make some of the coproducts.
The average daily production is about 160 million cubic feet of synthetic natural gas (SNG), the majority of which is piped to Ventura, IA, for distribution in the eastern United States.
Dakota Gas has a strong commitment to the environment. Dakota Gas operates its facilities in compliance with Title V Air Permit to Operate and has improved its environmental footprint by achieving better reliabilities, improved efficiency, and meeting environmental goals. The Synfuels Plant continues to be in compliance with all state and federal laws.
Basin Electric's Antelope Valley Station, a lignite-based electric generating station, is located adjacent to the Synfuels Plant. The two plants share resources such as fuel supply and site access along with water intake, delivery and storage facilities. Water for the facilities comes from Lake Sakakawea nine miles north of the energy site.
The Synfuels Plant consumes about 18,000 tons of lignite each day, which is supplied from the nearby Freedom Mine. The mine is owned and operated by The Coteau Properties Company, a subsidiary of the North American Coal Corporation.
Dakota Gas has one for-profit subsidiary, Souris Valley Pipeline LTD, which delivers carbon dioxide to two Canadian oil fields for enhanced oil recovery and sequestration.
Dakota Gas is also an international leader in the capture, compression, and sequestration of CO2. Since 2000, CO2 that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere has been compressed and delivered through a 205-mile pipeline to Cenovus Energy oilfields near Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada, and more recently to nearby Apache Canada Ltd. oilfields for use in enhanced oil recovery. Today, Dakota Gas exports about 152 million cubic feet per day of CO2 to Canada - about 50 percent of the CO2 produced when running at full rates. As of Dec. 31, 2012, Dakota Gas has successfully captured more than 25 million metric tons of CO2 for delivery.
With increased demand for CO2 export, and the 2006 addition of a third CO2 compressor, Dakota Gas has seen a dramatic reduction in CO2 emissions at the Synfuels Plant.
As an added environmental benefit, virtually all of the injected CO2 is expected to remain permanently sequestered in the depleted oil fields long after they have been abandoned.
With three compressors in operation, Dakota Gas can now capture and deliver for sequestration almost half of the CO2 produced at the Synfuels Plant, which represents 16 percent of CO2 produced from all the coal combusted from the Freedom Mine - making it a proven technical and economic success for both Dakota Gas and its Canadian customers.
“The strategic value (of the Synfuels Plant) to our country is immense and very difficult to put a price tag on. That plant and what we learned there, is a good model for what could and should be done. It is the ‘crown jewel’ of the United States’ efforts to wean itself off energy from foreign sources."
~ Kurt Yeager, former CEO of the Electric Power Research Institute
Synfuels Energy Pioneers
Order The New Synfuels Energy Pioneers book to read about this amazing facility.
Dakota Gasification Company Headquarters
1600 East Interstate Avenue
PO Box 5540
Great Plains Synfuels Plant
420 County Rd 26
Driving directions (PDF)