Company trying to build carbon-capture pipeline in Iowa plans to provide CO2 for fuel

Source: By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Saturday, May 20, 2023

Navigator CO2 says it’s reached an agreement to provide some of the carbon dioxide it proposes capturing from ethanol and other industrial ag plants in Iowa and four other Midwestern states to a California company to make climate-friendly fuel.

Omaha-based Navigator said it reached an agreement to provide Infinium, a Sacramento-based alternative fuel company, with 600,000 tons of CO2 each year. Navigator said Infinium would reach deals for CO2 with ethanol and other companies sending carbon through the pipeline.

Navigator has proposed building a $3 billion, 1,300-mile pipeline across Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota that will be used to capture carbon dioxide emissions at ethanol, fertilizer and other energy-intensive ag plants, liquefy it under pressure and pump it to Illinois where the company proposes to sequester the bulk of carbon deep underground.

Infinium said the carbon will be used in a future plant but wouldn’t say where it might be located.

“We are working on new development opportunities in the Midwest,” an Infinium spokeswoman said in an email to the Register.

Navigator’s project is one of three carbon-capture pipelines proposed in Iowa, garnering opposition from residents concerned about the possible use of eminent domain to force unwilling property owners to sell access to their land for the pipelines’ construction.

Residents also have voiced concern about the pipelines’ safety and the impact construction would have on farmland and underlying drainage systems.

Navigator, which projects capturing 15 million metric tons of carbon each year, plans to build its pipeline across about 800 miles in Iowa.

More:Iowa law allowing surveyors on property for carbon capture pipeline ruled unconstitutional

Infinium said Thursday it will use renewable energy to make green hydrogen that will be combined with carbon dioxide to make “ultra-low carbon” fuel, which it calls electrofuel or eFuel. Infinium said its fuels can be used in planes, ships and trucks “as an immediate replacement for petroleum jet and diesel fuels.”

Infinium said it also produces a fuel that can replace petroleum-derived naphtha in chemical and industrial processes to make goods such as plastics and solvents.

“The demand for eFuels as a climate-friendly alternative to petroleum-derived products continues to grow from both the heavy transit and the chemicals sectors,” said Robert Schuetzle, CEO at Infinium, in a statement.

Navigator CEO Matt Vining said in a statement “it’s exciting to see Infinium’s innovative approach to leverage carbon.

“This agreement serves as a great example of how we help our partners optimize their carbon usage and minimize emissions while maximizing value,” Vining said.

Last year, Infinium reached an agreement with Amazon to provide it with enough low-carbon diesel for its transportation fleet to travel 5 million miles. Infinium said its agreement with Navigator is not tied to its effort to supply Amazon fuel.

Companies typically use electrolysis, powered by wind, solar and other renewable energy, to separate hydrogen from oxygen molecules in water to make green hydrogen, which can then be used to develop other products like fuel and renewable natural gas.

Donnelle Eller covers agriculture, the environment and energy for the Register. Reach her at deller@registermedia.com or 515-284-8457. 

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