Residents meet company with $ 4.5 billion carbon capture pipeline

NEW HAMPTON, Iowa (KWWL) – Iowa may soon be the biggest private-funded $ 4.5 billion project to make ethanol greener and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Summit Carbon Solutions, based in Ames, is trying to connect 31 ethanol plants in the upper Midwest and capture their CO2 emissions before they enter the atmosphere.

The technology is called “carbon capture and storage”. This involves separating the CO2 from the other particles after combustion but before discharge, then compressing and dehydrating this gas. The result is a semi-liquid, between a gas and a liquid, which looks like a very thick fog. This substance is then pumped about four feet underground and transported somewhere for storage.

In this case, the company will pressurize the pipeline to send the gas to North Dakota. Summit is trying to acquire 200 acres of contiguous land near Bismarck, North Dakota, then pump the CO2 a mile underground forever.

“Our hope is to get in, to install the pipeline, to restore the land, to return it to landowners for 100% use,” said Jake Ketzner, vice president of government relations at Summit.

The proposed pipeline would cover approximately 700 miles in Iowa. The summit will seek 100 feet. easements on people’s land to install the line. Fifty feet are permanent, which means they will always have access to it, and 50 feet are temporary, which means they will return when construction is complete.

The easternmost ethanol plant involved is Homeland Energy Solutions outside of Lawler in Chickasaw County. Summit held a required briefing on the project on Wednesday in New Hampton.

Some farmers present at the meeting were concerned about the loss of corn and soybean yields as a result of the project. A pipeline passed through their county 20 years ago and some farmers say their yield is even lower below that line.

“When the big pipeline came in 20 years ago, you can still go there today and see where we have a yield loss,” said Garth Griffin, who would be affected by the Summit project.

Summit says he will pay people for land easements and yield losses. They will reimburse 100% of the yield loss in the first year of the project, 80% in the second year and 60% in the third year.

“You only pay three years of lost performance. Is that enough? I don’t think so,” Griffin said.

Some people were also worried about a possible CO2 leak along the line. Since CO2 is denser than air, it stays close to the surface and can suffocate people in the area.

“I know they’re probably going to downplay it because they don’t want to alarm, but from what I saw last night it could be quite dangerous,” said Kendra Leibold, who watched a webinar from the Sierra Club and Food and Water Watch Tuesday night. These two groups are strongly opposed to the Summit project and believe there is a risk of leakage or explosion.

Summit says any risk is minimal and they’ll have people monitoring the pressure and line condition 24/7/365 at their headquarters in Ames.

“CO2 is non-flammable, it is not combustible,” said Jesse Harris, media relations representative. for the Summit. “We will be able to watch the pressure in our system every second of every day.”

Summit says the pipeline will capture 12 million metric tonnes of CO2 each year. While there is no taxpayer money in building the line, Summit will benefit taxpayers. The federal government grants $ 50 in tax credits for each tonne of CO2 stored; it would be $ 600 million each year for this project.

Harris says they will get “a lot more money” from deals with ethanol plants. When ethanol is made cleaner, it can be sold for a higher price. Summit will share these profits with the ethanol plants.

The summit can begin negotiations with landowners in Chickasaw County now that the briefing has taken place. The company has yet to file a formal request with the Iowa Utilities Board. Summit says construction will start no earlier than 2023.

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