Pipeline company, ethanol plant plan carbon capture pipeline in Nebraska Panhandle

Source: By Dan Crisler, Omaha World Herald • Posted: Monday, October 10, 2022

Carbon America and Bridgeport Ethanol in the Nebraska Panhandle have announced plans to develop a carbon capture pipeline that would see the first carbon dioxide sequestered within the state.

Carbon America’s pipeline project joins other planned carbon capture pipelines, including ones by Navigator CO2 and Summit Carbon Solutions. In contrast with those multistate pipelines that will carry carbon dioxide from multiple biorefineries, the Bridgeport pipeline will span only about 10 miles and serve only Bridgeport Ethanol, said Carbon America CEO and co-founder Brent Lewis.

Carbon America, which is based in the Denver area, and Bridgeport Ethanol hope to have the pipeline operational in 2024.

One of the driving forces behind the planning of carbon capture pipelines is the availability of a federal tax credit to biorefineries that participate in carbon capture and storage. The Inflation Reduction Act will boost that tax credit from $50 to $85 per metric ton, news outlet Time reported. Carbon capture supporters also said the process could open up new markets for participating producers.

Critics of carbon capture pipelines have argued, among other things, that the pipelines provide little, if any, environmental benefit, particularly as it relates to climate change and that pipelines actually carry environmental risks in the event of a malfunction.

No specific site to contain the captured carbon dioxide has been selected yet, Lewis said. But he said the company is looking at sites that would allow the company to sequester the carbon dioxide well below 3,000 feet underground.

Lewis also said that Carbon America is looking at sites where the sequestered carbon dioxide wouldn’t contaminate an area’s water supply.

“We want to make sure that, wherever we’re going to be injecting CO2, we’re far away from anything that could be coming close to underground sources of drinking water,” he said.

The company is not disclosing the project cost, a spokesperson said, adding that the pipeline is not receiving any financial incentives from the State of Nebraska.

“There’s still a lot of development to be done, and we’ll see how that goes,” said Trevor Morgan, general manager of Bridgeport Ethanol. “But these are exciting times.”

Once the pipeline is operational, Carbon America said the pipeline will capture 95% of Bridgeport Ethanol’s emissions at 175,000 tons annually. That annual amount is equivalent to taking 38,043 passenger vehicles off the road.

Lewis said Carbon America views carbon capture and sequestration as “a very, very important part of the total energy transition that we’re going through” away from fossil fuels.

“We’re big climate believers,” he said. “We subscribe to the fact that we’ve got to do everything we can to address climate change. We believe CCS (carbon capture and sequestration) is a bridge to get us to a time and a place where can really remove fossil (fuels) from most of our applications for energy use. But for the time being, we’ve got to bridge this gap.”

Carbon America also is partnering with two of Bridgeport Ethanol’s sister plants in northeast Colorado to capture and sequester carbon dioxide.