A second carbon sequestration pipeline, dubbed Heartland Greenway, could be coming to South Dakota
As landowners continue to voice their concerns about Summit Carbon Solutions’ proposed carbon sequestration pipeline, another such project is inching forward in progress.
Texas-based Navigator CO2 Ventures is also seeking to construct a carbon sequestration pipeline, dubbed the Heartland Greenway, through the region. That pipeline would run through South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. It would collect carbon dioxide from several ethanol and fertilizer plants before pumping it underground to the Mount Simon Sandstone formation in central Illinois.
Tax credit sparks ‘gold rush’
It’s a part of what some have referred to as a new gold rush: because companies can currently qualify for what’s known as the 45Q tax credit, investors are rushing to the region.
According to the company’s website, its goal is to provide customers in the Midwest with “innovative carbon capture and storage solutions.”
In South Dakota, the pipeline would run through Moody, Minnehaha, and Brookings counties. Construction is expected to begin in early 2024 should the project get approved.
Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, vice president of government and public affairs at Navigator, said the company is referring to the project as a carbon management platform as opposed to just a pipeline. That’s because the project consists of more than only the pipeline, with the capture equipment onsite at the ethanol and fertilizer plants being just as important.
Navigator has not applied for permits
The process is only just beginning for Navigator. The company has not yet applied for permits with each state’s Public Utilities Commission. That means the route is not yet set in stone. But Navigator has already signed contracts with several ethanol plants throughout the region as well as a fertilizer plant in Iowa.
In South Dakota, Navigator will partner with Valero, which has an ethanol plant in Aurora.
Navigator’s approach has been to hold public meetings before the company applies for the permits, said Burns-Thompson. At the meetings, which were held in December and January, everything from compensation to the structure and effects of the project were discussed, she said.
No easements yet, company says
Navigator has not yet begun to hand out easements to landowners as feedback is still being collected, said Burns-Thompson. But landowners might have had contact with Navigator’s land team, which has been surveying property since the meetings in December and January.
While eminent domain has been a large topic of conversation regarding the Midwest Carbon Express, Burns-Thompson said that Navigator will be creating secondary routes with the goal of getting all voluntary easements. But, she added, the structure must be continuous and that there is only so much shifting that can be done.
Pipeline would be funded through private equity
There’s one thing that sets Navigator apart from Summit Carbon Solutions: money. While Summit will be profiting from the 45Q tax credit as well as splitting profits with ethanol plants, Navigator is going about profiting a bit differently.
Navigator is funded entirely through private equity, said Burns-Thompson. That has allowed the company to sign long-term contracts with participating plants. Each plant agrees to a certain amount of carbon dioxide that will be transported over a set number of years, with many contracts being for 20 years. The rate is set in that contract, allowing the ethanol and fertilizer plants to maintain ownership of the CO2, she said.
That allows the plants to benefit from the 45Q tax credit, said Burns-Thompson. And because their carbon emissions will be down, that company can then sell their product at a premium in states that have low-carbon fuel standards, including California and Oregon, she said.