Meetings underway on proposed carbon capture pipeline in Iowa

Iowa News

HOLSTEIN, Iowa — A series of public meetings is underway this fall to give Iowans a look at a carbon capture pipeline proposed to go underground in northern and western Iowa.

Summit Carbon Solutions of Ames has plans for the pipeline to capture carbon dioxide from ethanol in Iowa. The 710-mile pipeline would go through 30 Iowa counties and transport carbon to store underground in North Dakota. This would enable Iowa ethanol to be sold in low-carbon markets like California.

“What we would do is partner with ethanol plants. We currently signed agreements with 12 ethanol plants in Iowa and 31 across the five states. We would capture the [carbon dioxide] they omit and transport it by pipeline to North Dakota,” said Quinn Slaven with Summit Carbon Solutions. “The ethanol industry purchases just over half of the corn crop in Iowa. By lowering carbon emissions, these ethanol plants that have partnered with us would eventually have access to low-carbon fuel markets.”

“That’s a significant value added to ethanol on a 35 million gallon facility that would be approximately $4.5 million to $5 million of additional revenue,” said Delayne Johnson, the CEO of Quad County Corn Processors in nearby Galva, Iowa.

Johnson said his facility signed on as one of the 12 Iowa plants sending carbon away via the pipeline. He said it would be good for Iowa farmers and good for ethanol producers.

Map overview of the Midwest Carbon Express pipeline proposed by Summit Carbon Solutions

However, there were concerns raised by the public about the safety of the pipeline if kids are playing nearby or if someone would break the line causing a spill.

“With [carbon dioxide] you get a sudden release of the product. If it’s near livestock or human beings, it could definitely be dangerous to your health,” said Jimmy Powell, CEO of Summit Carbon Solutions. “The good news is it won’t explode.”

Powell added that the lines will not be constructed near buildings and that first responders would be trained on dealing with a pipeline mishap.

The Iowa Utilities Board is in the first round of regulatory hearings in counties where the pipeline goes through. The final decision would be made by the Utilities Board sometime after public meetings conclude. If approval is given, Summit plans to begin construction in 2023 and have carbon flowing in 2024.

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