South Dakota-based Poet signs on with Navigator carbon dioxide pipeline project

South Dakota-based Poet Biorefining, the world's largest ethanol producer, announced this week that it's joining Navigator CO2 Ventures' $3 billion carbon capture pipeline.

Navigator is the second developer to announce a carbon dioxide pipeline though South Dakota.

Based in Texas, Navigator has said it will transport 5 million metric tons of liquefied carbon dioxide annually from 18 Poet plants in South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska.

Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, Navigator's vice president of government and public affairs, said the company expects to build the pipeline to Poet's plants in two phases, with the system fully operational by 2025.

The latest version of Navigator Co.'s proposed Heartland Greenway carbon capture pipeline.
The latest version of Navigator Co.'s proposed Heartland Greenway carbon capture pipeline.

Poet has South Dakota plants in Chancellor, Groton, Hudson and Mitchell. It also has 12 plants in Iowa and more in other states.

South Dakota farmers produced about 739.8 million bushels of corn last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More than half of the state's corn crop is generally used for ethanol, according to information from the South Dakota Corn Growers Association.

More: A second carbon sequestration pipeline, dubbed Heartland Greenway, could be coming to South Dakota

“We recognize that now is the time to take bold action to preserve our planet for future generations,” Jeff Broin, Poet founder and CEO, said in a statement. "This project is another significant step in utilizing bioprocessing to accelerate our path to net-zero.

"We believe Navigator has the expertise to deliver long-term value to rural America by further positioning agricultural commodities as a viable source of low-carbon liquid fuels to power our future,” Broin said.

Navigator, Summit Carbon Solutions and Archer Daniels Midland, in partnership with Wolf Carbon Solutions, have proposed building pipeline sto capture carbon dioxide from ethanol, fertilizer and other industrial agriculture plants, liquefy it under pressure and transport it to locations where it will be sequestered permanently a mile underground.

Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions is the other company that plans a line though South Dakota.

The projects are controversial. In Summit's case, South Dakota landowners and counties have expressed concerns about the use of eminent domain, safety and the necessity of the CO2 pipeline. The Navigator project, dubbed Heartland Greenway, is newer. Neither has gained permission from the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, though that process is underway for Summit.

More: Farmers, ag groups looking for answers about carbon sequestration

The companies say the projects will enable ethanol to remain viable as the nation seeks to cut net greenhouse emissions in half by 2030. By federal law, ethanol is blended into most of the nation's gasoline supply.

With the addition of Poet, Navigator said its 1,300-mile pipeline is slated to collect about 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually from 33 plants across South Dakota Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota.

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, Burns-Thompson has said.

Navigator's pipeline will be designed to have the capacity to capture 15 million tons of carbon annually, the equivalent of removing 3.2 million vehicles from the road, according to the company.

Summit Carbon Solutions proposed $4.5 million pipeline would gather carbon dioxide from the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. It would cross more counties in eastern South Dakota, including Brown, Codington and Minnehaha.

Scott Waltman, editor of the American News and Public Opinion, contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Aberdeen News: South Dakota based Poet signs on with carbon dioxide pipeline project