Navigator deal would provide CO2 from Midwest ethanol plants for electrofuels

Source: By Erin Jordan, The Gazette • Posted: Saturday, May 20, 2023

Navigator Heartland Greenway changed the route of its proposed CO2 pipeline in June 2022. The new route, shown in this map, no longer goes through Linn County. (Navigator Heartland Greenway)
Navigator Heartland Greenway changed the route of its proposed CO2 pipeline in June 2022. The new route, shown in this map, no longer goes through Linn County. (Navigator Heartland Greenway)

Navigator Heartland Greenway on Thursday announced a deal with electrofuels provider Infinium to provide 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year from ethanol plants connected to Navigator’s proposed pipeline.

The CO2 would be used to create low-carbon fuels at a “future Infinium facility” in the Midwest, Navigator said in a news release.

“We are committed to delivering long-term, sustainable decarbonization solutions from our growing Heartland Greenway platform, and it’s exciting to see Infinium’s innovative approach to leverage carbon,” Navigator CEO Matt Vining said in a prepared statement.

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

Navigator, a Texas company, is proposing a 1,300-mile pipeline that would pass through 36 Iowa counties, including Linn, Benton, Cedar, Delaware and Iowa.

Carbon dioxide from ethanol and fertilizer plants would be put under pressure, turned into liquid and piped to a site in south-central Illinois, where it would be injected more than a mile underground.

Navigator has said it would sequester 7 million to 8 million metric tons of CO2 a year when the pipeline becomes operational and up to 15 million tons a year at full capacity. The 600,000 tons proposed for Infinium is about 8.5 percent of the early totals.

Other pipelines

Two other CO2 pipeline projects are being proposed in Iowa.

Summit Carbon Solutions is planning a 2,000-mile C02 pipeline through Iowa to North Dakota, with the project focusing on ethanol plants in northern, north-central and western Iowa.

Wolf Carbon Solutions has proposed a 350-mile pipeline to transport CO2 from ethanol facilities in Cedar Rapids and Clinton to ADM’s sequestration site in Decatur, Ill.

The Iowa Utilities Board still must consider the proposals before deciding whether to grant state permits.

Aviation fuel

Navigator’s announcement Thursday is the second in a week about a CO2 pipeline company planning to use some of the CO2 for another purpose, rather than sequestering it all underground.

Iowa-based Summit Agricultural and Honeywell are partnering to build the world’s largest plant producing ethanol-based aviation fuel — a project that is likely to become a $1 billion facility and is expected to open in 2025.

The sustainable aviation fuel — or, SAF — plant would be built on the Gulf Coast, where there would be access to CO2 from Summit’s ethanol plant in Brazil, as well as other locations, according to news reports.

While the federal government provides an $85 tax credit for each ton of CO2 permanently stored underground, there are other tax credits for reducing emissions from fuel production that don’t require sequestration. That opens up the possibility of using the CO2 captured at ethanol plants for other industrial purposes, such as making electrofuels.

Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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