The same Midwest land that grows corn for ethanol could also serve as a storage site for carbon emitted by biorefineries.
That production and sequestration cycle is at the heart of a pipeline project proposed across 13 Illinois counties and parts of four other states.
Texas-based Navigator CO2 Ventures has put forward a plan to capture and transport 10 to 15 million metric tons of liquified carbon dioxide per year through a 1,300-mile pipeline across Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois to a pair of permanent sequestration sites in central Illinois.
The liquified carbon emissions would enter the system from industrial customers like ethanol plants, move through the pipeline and be injected more than a mile below the ground for permanent storage.
At full capacity, the system could capture and store enough carbon dioxide equivalent to removing approximately 3.2 million cars from the road per year, according to Navigator.
Navigator in early 2021 partnered with BlackRock Global Energy and Power Infrastructure Fund III to develop the project, with Valero Energy Corp. as the anchor customer.
Preliminary designs show the pipeline, known as the “Heartland Greenway,” entering Illinois near western Hancock County then traveling north and east through Adams, Brown, Christian, Fulton, Henry, Knox, McDonough, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler and Scott counties to two sequestration sites in the east central part of the state.
Pipe would be laid at least 5 feet below ground and emerge in some spots via well heads. The proposed Illinois sequestration sites have been selected because of underground geologic formations best suited for safely storing liquid carbon dioxide.
Bill Bodine, Illinois Farm Bureau director of business and regulatory affairs, said the project will hopefully minimize the surface impact for farmers and landowners who host sections of the pipeline on their property.
Bodine said farmers and landowners need to be involved in the process, ask questions and work to ensure they have good terms in easements or land-use agreements.
“I encourage landowners to seek out education and the advice of an experienced attorney before agreeing to anything,” Bodine said. “These are long-term agreements that can have long-term impacts.”
Bodine said IFB plans to host information and education sessions for members interested in the project. And IFB will track the permitting and construction phases of the pipeline.
The former is expected to continue through 2022. Construction of the Illinois portions of the pipeline likely won’t start until 2025, after approval from state and federal regulators.