An update on the Summit Carbon Pipeline

A carbon capture pipeline that would help de-carbonize the U.S. ethanol industry continues to advance.

Summit Carbon Solutions CEO Lee Blank tells Brownfield a lot has to happen to get the project operational next year and one of the biggest challenges of the project has been education.

“The ethanol industry was a change in agriculture in the mid-2000s,” says Blank. “This is just the next natural step change for agriculture to allow the products coming out of the ethanol industry to meet certain carbon intensity scores to hit markets that will drive additional economics back to the farm gate.”

Once completed, the Summit Carbon Pipeline will capture carbon dioxide from more than 30 ethanol plants across five states including Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota, to be stored in North Dakota.

Blank says the project is going through the permitting process and while it’s been a challenge to get a site permit in North Dakota, he is expecting approval in all five states by the end of the year.

“We want the states to have everything they need to give them comfort and transparency to what we’re doing.”

The Iowa Public Utilities Commission had a public hearing process for the permit request this week, Minnesota will start their hearing on August 31 and South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to have its hearing September 11. Summit Carbon Solutions is working with individual counties in Nebraska.

Securing the land needed for this project has also been a challenge, with pushback from some landowners saying the company is using eminent domain for the project.

“There are times where eminent domain is used and many large projects have used that in the past,” says Blank. “We intend to go as far as we can go with voluntary right of way and we’ll continue to do that.”

Blank says he’s not too concerned.

“I think eminent domain is part of the process and we’ll find our way through it.”

Blank says the project has more than 73% of the right of way secured to install the pipeline and once the permitting process is complete, he is expecting the project to secure the land needed to continue.

Brownfield interviewed Blank at a Kansas City Agribusiness Council meeting. Hear the full interview.

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