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Summit Carbon Solutions Pipeline Could Cut Emissions In Iowa

A new pipeline project in Iowa could significantly reduce the state’s carbon footprint. The proposed Summit Carbon Solutions Pipeline is a $4.5 billion carbon sequestration pipeline that would run 710 miles underground across the Hawkeye State, extending through 30 of the state’s 99 counties. The federal tax credit-eligible pipeline would capture thousands of tons of ethanol emissions and compress those emissions into liquid. That liquid would be collected from the pipeline and transported to North Dakota where it would be permanently stored in underground rock formations.

Photo Courtesy Danil Sorokin

Summit Carbon Solutions is currently holding meetings across Iowa to educate farmers and residents about the project.  The company says the pipeline could cut carbon emissions by as much as 50 percent, contributing to the United States’ new goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. The pipeline would also allow Summit to sell low-emissions fuel in states such as California. The Iowa pipeline will connect through to Nebraska, Minnesota, and the Dakotas in a larger system called the Midwest Carbon Express. Overall, it’s expected to remove 12 million metric tons of carbon each year. In addition, the project will mean at least 17,000 new construction jobs and result in 500 permanent positions. In essence, it will have a positive impact on not only the state’s environment but its economy.

In Iowa, more than half of the corn production goes to ethanol.

Without the pipeline, farmers and landowners would struggle to meet new carbon emissions scores.

Farmers have some concerns, however, as some farmland will be damaged to bury the 24-inch pipe. Summit is asking for 100-feet easements from owners but offering three years of crop loss payment.

Photo Courtesy Demian Tejeda-Benitez

“Our hope is to come in and install the pipeline, restore the land and then give it back to the landowners for 100 percent use,” explained Jake Ketzner, Summit Carbon’s Vice President of Governmental Relations.

Many farmers are already on board, understanding that carbon capture and storage are essential for future economic stability and profit.

“If we look at progress, if this is part of climate change, then it needs to be done,” said Bill Couser, a farmer and board member of Lincolnway Energy. “[The pipeline] is another part of the puzzle. Carbon is a real thing, and we’ve got to figure out a way to put it back in its place.”

If Summit’s project goes through, the facilities would be able to produce net-zero carbon fuel by 2030. The company is excited to move forward not only to take harmful carbon out of the air but to protect the future of their home state.

“The big difference between us and previous projects is we are an Iowa-based company,” Ketzner continued. “Our team understands agriculture and the importance of it. That’s one of the main drivers of the project, the future of ethanol, the environment, and the economy. We are going to do everything we can to work with landowners to seek voluntary easements and work with them in a very productive relationship.”


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