WILLMAR — Atwater’s Bushmills Ethanol is partnering with Summit Carbon Solutions of Ames, Iowa to decarbonize its ethanol plant, according to a press release Friday from Summit Carbon Solutions.
“We are delighted to have a progressive company such as Bushmills Ethanol as our new partner,” said Jim Pirolli, Chief Commercial Officer of Summit Carbon Solutions in the release. “We share a common vision to support the long-term sustainability of American agriculture by decarbonizing the supply chain and the products that are produced. Bushmills is an excellent operator and has continually improved its plant through investments to reduce energy consumption and improve yields.
Bushmills Ethanol began operations in 2005 and currently produces 85 million gallons of fuel ethanol annually, according to the press release. This is the 32nd ethanol plant to officially join Summit Carbon Solutions’ transformative carbon capture and storage project.
Summit Carbon Solutions met with landowners in Sacred Heart and Granite Falls on April 7 regarding the acquisition of land needed to build pipelines for the plants of Granite Falls Energy and Heron Lake Energy, which are also in partnership with Summit Carbon Solutions.
The company has yet to announce a potential route from Bushmills in rural Atwater to connect to the proposed pipeline network.
By developing the largest carbon capture and storage project in the world, Summit Carbon Solutions is expected to have the capacity to capture and permanently store up to 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year through all of its partnerships, according to the press release. Carbon dioxide from the ethanol plants will be compressed and transported via a pipeline to North Dakota for permanent geological storage.
The partnership between Bushmills Ethanol and Summit Carbon Solutions is expected to capture more than 230,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
Proponents of the $4.5 billion pipeline project told attendees at the Sacred Heart and Granite Falls meetings that the project is necessary for mills to remain competitive in a low-carbon future, and that it is expected to cut the carbon footprint of affiliated ethanol plants in half.
For the project to proceed, Summit Carbon Solutions must negotiate easements with thousands of individual landowners along the pipeline route. The company told landowners at the Granite Falls and Sacred Heart meetings that it was seeking a 50-foot-wide permanent easement along its path and an additional 50-foot-wide temporary easement during construction.
Landowners are offered a starting price of 1.5 times the average county land value for the permanent easement, along with crop damage of 100% the first year, 80% the second, and 60% the third. The compensation would be paid in advance in a single payment.
The pipeline project will span Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. Important milestones for the project have recently taken place, including the submission of pipeline permit applications in the states of Iowa and South Dakota, according to Summit Carbon Solutions.
He hopes to start construction in a year.
Over $600 million in equity has been raised by the project, including recent investments from Continental Resources and Tiger Infrastructure Partners.
There has, however, been growing opposition to the development and construction of the proposed carbon pipeline, particularly in parts of Iowa and North Dakota.