Just off Highway 20 outside of Galva, Iowa in Ida County, Quad County Corn Processors is one of 32 facilities partnering with Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed carbon capture and storage project. Wednesday morning they invited stakeholders and members of the media to the facility for a tour to see how this partnership could benefit Iowans.
In operation since the 2000s, QCCP is a leader in ethanol production in Iowa. They've partnered with Summit Carbon Solutions and their proposed pipeline to capture the CO2 the plant creates. "We actually use every piece of the kernel of corn all the way from protein to converting the fiber to cellulosic, so low carbon intense ethanol and also now the co2 value," said Delayne Johnson, CEO of Quad County Corn Processors.
Currently, about 60% of that CO2 is released into the atmosphere. Johnson wants to change that. "This is going to bring our carbon intensity of our fuel down," he said. "And it really just brings more to our bottom line and allows us to have a good bid for our farmers for the corn that they produce."
During our tour of the processing plant, we had the chance to see the corn processing systems up close. Johnson says capturing their CO2 instead of releasing it will help Northwest Iowa's Ag community in the future.
"If there's lower demand for ethanol at times when people have to produce less, it'll be the plants that are not connected to the CO2 pipelines that will actually reduce their run rates or have to shut down," said Johnson, "so we see this as a way to add competitiveness to quad county value proposition which also adds value to the farmers in the local communities."
"But these proposed CO2 pipelines aren't being well received by some landowners in their path. There are lawsuits against Summit and Heartland Greenway, the other proposed CO2 pipeline in several Iowa counties. Summit says they are still pushing forward.
"There are about 170,000 miles of pipelines across the five states in which we operate. There are over 5000 miles of co2 pipelines in operation in the US currently," said Jim Pirolli with Summit Carbon Solutions. "And a lot of these projects have been in service for many, many years."
Summit says they have almost 52% of the easements needed from landowners for the entire project.
"Across the entire project, we're about 52% of the easements have been signed. That's over 2,050 miles," said Pirolli, "so well over 1,000 miles of voluntary easements had been signed almost 60% in Iowa, and that's over $100 million spent paid to landowners for those easements just in this state. About $240 million of easement payments across the entire system."
Summit is confident in its pipeline and Quad County Corn Processors are eager to get started with the project ultimately capturing 100% of their CO2 emissions.
"We see this as adding about $4-5 million to our bottom line every year as we go forward. And that's a very unique opportunity," Johnson said. "We don't get those types of opportunities often. We also believe that being on a pipeline is critical to be part of the future.
Summit Carbon Solutions hopes to have the permits needed by next summer with construction beginning fall of 2023. Their goal is to be fully operational by the year 2024.
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