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Summit Carbon Solutions is applying for a pipeline permit for a portion of the Minnesota route – Agweek

Summit Carbon Solutions, the company behind a plan to capture and channel carbon emissions from ethanol plants in five states to West North Dakota for storage, has applied for its first permits in Minnesota.

Summit has submitted pipeline permitting documents in Otter Tail and Wilkin counties to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. This portion of the pipeline would connect Green Plains’ Fergus Falls ethanol facility, one of six ethanol facilities in Minnesota that are part of the project.

ethanol plant

The ethanol plant near Fergus Falls, Minnesota is one of 32 plants on Summit Carbon Solutions’ pipeline route.

Agweek file photo

The pipeline would travel west through Wilkin County and enter North Dakota south of Breckenridge, Minnesota. Application documents can be found on the PUC website; the case number is 22-422.

The 28.1-mile pipeline would cost $50 million to build, according to permitting documents filed Sept. 12. The Iowa-based company expects to start construction in the second half of 2023 and construction is expected to take approximately 10 months.

Otter Tail Wikin-Pipelineroute.png

The proposed route of the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline through Otter Tail and Wilkin counties, Minnesota. The liquid carbon dioxide would flow west into North Dakota.

Summit Carbon Solutions

This portion of the pipeline would be 4 inches in diameter and would connect to another branch of the pipeline that runs south of the Tharaldson ethanol facility in Casselton, North Dakota, the only North Dakota facility that is part of the project.

Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions describes the pipeline as the world’s largest carbon capture project at a cost of $4.5 billion. Summit says it would support corn farmers by allowing 32 ethanol producers to command premium prices in markets with a low-carbon fuel standard like California and Canada. Ethanol plants on the proposed route are located in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The summit would also receive a huge amount of federal tax credit revenue – $85 per tonne of greenhouse gases stored. According to Summit, the project will have the capacity to capture and store up to 12 million tons of liquid carbon dioxide each year, pumped underground northwest of Bismarck, North Dakota.

At $85 per ton, 12 million tons would mean more than $1 billion in federal tax credits alone. Summit says it would also get a share of the price of ethanol sold in low-carbon markets.

The project has raised objections from landowners who do not want a hazardous materials pipeline on their property and fear Summit will use significant territory to gain right-of-way.

Environmental groups like Minnesota-based CURE (Clean Up the River Environment) have also criticized the project and others who like it.

“These companies are racing to bury pipelines to take advantage of lucrative government subsidies. But the ability of private companies to turn a profit is not a solid basis for deciding whether we need these large-scale, disruptive and dangerous pipelines,” said Maggie Schuppert, CURE’s campaign director, in a press release. “All Minnesotans — but especially those on the front lines of these risky projects — need to be at the decision table.”

According to documents filed with the PUC, the pipeline will affect 319.2 acres of prime farmland in Otter Tail and Willkin counties. An additional 18 acres are classified as farmland of national importance.

It would cross the Pelican, Otter Tail, and Bois de Sioux rivers and other unnamed streams before crossing into North Dakota.

In an emailed statement, Summit said, “Over the past year, Summit Carbon Solutions has held dozens of public meetings in Minnesota and met with hundreds of state stakeholders to introduce and highlight our carbon capture, transportation and storage project How this investment works will open up new economic opportunities for ethanol producers, farmers and local communities. … We look forward to feedback from the commissioners and staff of the PUC on this proposed route. More broadly, we look forward to continuing to advance this $550 million investment in Minnesota to support the long-term viability of ethanol and help the industry continue to purchase nearly half of the corn grown in the United States.”

Summit MN route.png

The Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline would connect six ethanol plants in Minnesota to a carbon storage site in North Dakota.

Summit Carbon Solutions

In addition to the Otter Tail and Wilkin counties, another leg of the Summit pipeline would pass through Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Martin, Redwood, Renville and Yellow Medicine counties in Minnesota.

Fairmont ethanol plant

The Green Plains ethanol plant in Fairmont, Minnesota, shown March 11, 2022, is one of 32 plants that have signed up for the Summit Carbon Solutions carbon capture pipeline project.

Jeff Beach/Agweek

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