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Energy Efficiency

Iowa Company Leading Carbon Capture and Storage Innovation

Photo From Crystal Kwok

Summit Carbon Solutions received a major investment from Tiger Infrastructure Partners to fund the development of the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project. 

A new partnership was recently announced that could change the future of carbon capture and storage in the United States. Equity firm Tiger Infrastructure has teamed up with Summit Carbon Solutions of Alden, Iowa to develop the world’s largest carbon capture project. Together, this new business platform will work to accelerate the transition toward sustainable, renewable energy by dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of bio-refineries and other industrial emitters of carbon dioxide across the Midwest. When fully developed, Summit Carbon will have a network capable of storing more than 10 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, dramatically enhancing the economic prospects of biofuel and agriculture industries. It will essentially prove a new business model for carbon capture – something necessary to bring American emissions down to zero. The company has already secured agreements with leading bio-refineries in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota, adding significant private investment and job creation to each community.

Carbon capture and storage have often been criticized for being too expensive to be productive. However, some of that expense depends on the type of emissions. At bio-refineries, where corn or another form of biomass is fermented into ethanol, the process emits a pure stream of carbon dioxide, which is much easier (and cheaper) to capture than fossil fuel emissions.

“There’s no energy required for capture at bio-refineries,” explained Daniel Sanchez, an engineer and energy systems analyst at the University of California Berkeley. “That is the reason why this works so well, why it’s cheap, and why everyone wants to do it.”

This new partnership expands Summit Carbon’s bio-refinery network to more than 30 locations. Through this expansion, the company is likely to exceed its original target of 10 million tons of reduction. That’s the equivalent of taking two million cars off the road per year and is equal to the entire annual carbon emissions of the state of Vermont. The company will collect and store the emissions at permanent geologic storage sites in North Dakota.

The state of Nebraska is particularly excited to be linked to Summit’s solutions. With support from Cornhusker companies Green Plains, Husker Ag and the Louis Dreyfus Company, the expansion into Nebraska will dramatically reduce the state’s carbon footprint. In fact, the state hopes that at least 1.9 million metric tons of carbon will be captured and sequestered each year.

Photo From Demian Tejeda-Benitez

“Bio-refining and agriculture are vital to Nebraska’s economy,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. “By partnering with Summit Carbon Solutions, Nebraska bio-refiners will greatly accelerate their efforts to produce a net-zero carbon fuel, while at the same time bolstering the agricultural producers they serve and the local economies they support. I look forward to seeing this project take shape and seeing the impact it will have on Nebraska.”

Summit’s focus on the intersection of agriculture and renewable energy comes at a time when the United States is barreling toward a cleaner future. New federal legislation is re-focusing the economy on sustainability. The Tiger-Summit partnership is a hopeful example of states working together to craft innovative, American solutions to cut carbon emissions, creating a cleaner environment and a healthier economy for the future.

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