Is green methanol an alternative to CO2 pipelines?

Is inexperienced methanol a substitute for CO2 pipelines?

Robert Brzozowski (left), Atsushi Urakawa (heart), and Antoni Migda of Actual Carbon Tech look at gear that produces inexperienced methanol from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Actual Carbon Tech has licensed the expertise to be used in america by CapCO2, which plans to pilot the challenge in Iowa or Illinois this summer time. (Tomasz Zmysowski)

Some renewable gasoline advocates say carbon dioxide pipelines are the one technique to save Iowa’s ethanol trade, however Jeff Reints is not shopping for it.

Particularly since he discovered of CapCO2, an organization that markets a system for capturing CO2 from ethanol vegetation, combining it with hydrogen, and turning it into inexperienced methanol, a extremely sought-after renewable gasoline.

It is simply a lot greater than a logical, better-for-the-environment, non-destructive idea of Iowa farmland, mentioned Reints, a Shell Rock farmer, actual property developer and pipeline opponent.

Jeff Reints, a Shell Rock farmer, actual property developer and pipeline opponent. (Jeff Reints)

Actual Carbon Tech, a Polish firm that developed the expertise utilized by CapCO2 in america, constructed the system in containers that may be arrange exterior ethanol vegetation. Since an ethanol plant emits CO2, the gasoline is captured, compressed and handled with hydrogen.

The top product is methanol, a gasoline utilized in some industries to switch diesel.

Danish delivery large Maersk introduced in November that it wants 6 million tonnes of inexperienced methanol yearly to fulfill its 2030 greenhouse gasoline emissions goal and much more by 2040 to go net-zero.

CapCO2 will ship methanol by rail in the identical method ethanol is already transported from vegetation, CapCO2 CEO Jeff Bonar instructed The Gazette.

You’ve got this very pure and great amount of CO2 coming from an ethanol plant, Bonar mentioned. For some sorts of merchandise, similar to methanol, pure CO2 is ideal.

Bonar traveled by way of Iowa and Illinois earlier this month to fulfill with ethanol plant house owners, farmers and different stakeholders to advertise its product as a substitute for controversial CO2 pipelines in Iowa as a result of two of the initiatives wish to use a eminent area to realize entry to privately owned land to construct the underground pipelines.

Pipeline debate

The Iowa Home on Wednesday handed a invoice that may require pipeline corporations to safe 90 p.c of the land by way of voluntary leases earlier than eminent area can be utilized to realize entry to the remainder.

Home File 565 now goes to the Iowa Senate, the place its destiny is unsure.

Many farmers do not wish to be pressured to supply easements to the pipeline corporations though they are going to be paid to permit entry, and fear about decrease yields and damaged water drainage tiles the place the pipelines are constructed.

Some farmers additionally do not like listening to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Affiliation declare that pipelines are the one technique to protect Iowa’s ethanol trade.

Reints, which sells most of its corn to Shell Rock’s POET Bioprocessing, criticized a latest research commissioned by the affiliation saying 75 p.c of Iowa’s ethanol vegetation would fail with out pipeline approval.

The entire studio was purchased and paid for by them. What do you suppose the consequence will likely be? he mentioned. It is actually embarrassing the place that (Affiliation Govt Director) Monte Shaw and others within the renewable power trade are taking up this. It is fairly apparent their pockets are lined.

Shaw mentioned the whole ethanol trade would profit financially if the vegetation can cut back their greenhouse gasoline emissions sufficient to qualify for brand spanking new tax credit licensed by the Inflation Discount Act.

So why is everybody working to do CCS? he mentioned of the carbon seize and storage provided by pipelines. As a result of it is a confirmed expertise, has cheap capital prices, and might be carried out in time to earn the 45Z tax credit. In brief, vegetation are pursuing CCS as a result of it makes monetary sense.

Pipeline corporations and ethanol vegetation might earn as much as $1 a gallon in federal tax credit for producing transportation gasoline with decrease greenhouse gasoline emissions. With a decrease carbon depth rating based mostly on CO2 seize, ethanol vegetation might promote their gasoline in states and international locations with low-carbon gasoline requirements.

Summit Carbon Options, Navigator CO2 Ventures and Wolf Carbon Options, the three corporations proposing pipelines in Iowa, would transport the compressed gasoline to Illinois and North Dakota, the place it will be sequestered in underground rock formations.

However Bonar and Iowa supporters of CapCO2 argue that if there’s a marketplace for methanol, why would not Iowa wish to use waste CO2 from ethanol vegetation to supply one thing of worth?

You’ll be able to seize the CO2 from ethanol vegetation proper on the spot so that you get tax credit from that, however you additionally get the gasoline supply that is wanted, mentioned Josh Manske, an Algona farmer who sits on state boards. ‘Iowa Farmers Union and the Nationwide Farmers Union. I do not imply it will probably resolve the pipeline downside, however it form of can.

Is it practicable?

Firms all over the world wish to flip waste into methanol, particularly with prospects like Maersk ready for the product.

CIMC Enric is one in all six corporations which have signed an settlement to provide methanol to the worldwide delivery large. The deal requires CIMC, a Chinese language agency, to execute an indication challenge to show 50,000 tons of biomass into inexperienced methanol, CIMC reported final 12 months.

The manufacturing capability of the second part of the challenge relies on improvement, and annual manufacturing of inexperienced methanol is predicted to extend to 200,000 tons, the corporate mentioned.

CapCO2 plans to check its expertise at a Midwest ethanol plant this summer time.

Bonar has only one delivery container now—an ethanol plant would wish 5 to 10 containers to seize all of its CO2—however he hopes the pilot will show the idea works.

From a chemical and engineering standpoint, it is fairly clear it is going to work nicely, Bonar mentioned. It is greater than its model new and you need to get folks snug with the thought.

The Nationwide Corn to Ethanol Analysis Heart at Southern Illinois College Edwardsville helps CapCO2 with some checks to find out how greatest to channel CO2 from ethanol vegetation and to find out if there are different chemical compounds within the CO2 that ought to be eliminated, Bonar mentioned.

Utilizing a capture-as-a-service mannequin, CapCO2 would lease area at an ethanol plant to put in delivery containers, deal with all operations and duties, and pay the ethanol plant a proportion of methanol gross sales. They might share the 45Z tax credit, Bonar mentioned.

Steve Guyer, power coverage supervisor on the Iowa Environmental Council, mentioned the thought is an choice.

With the Inflation Discount Act offering tax incentives for each CO2 seize and storage, and hydrogen manufacturing, methanol manufacturing utilizing CO2 from ethanol is definitely a doubtlessly viable different to CO2 pipelines, he mentioned. said.

CapCO2 is a small participant and has solely been round since 2022, which Shaw of the Renewable Fuels Affiliation says ought to make Iowans skeptical about placing an excessive amount of hope in expertise that may convert massive volumes of CO2 to methanol.

Manske and Reints mentioned they want CapCO2 had extra confirmed outcomes, however all carbon seize expertise, together with that used for underground sequestration, is comparatively new.

As soon as that factor is operational, I will be there, Manske mentioned of the CapCO2 check pilot.

Procuring round

Iowanians on the lookout for alternate options to pipelines say ethanol vegetation ought to be capable of contemplate different carbon seize choices, though they’ve signed letters of intent to provide their CO2 to pipeline corporations.

ADM and Wolf Carbon Options introduced in January 2022 that they signed a letter of intent to assemble a 350-mile pipeline to move liquefied CO2 from ethanol and cogeneration vegetation in Cedar Rapids and Clinton to ADM’s already operational sequestration web site in Decatur , Illinois.

Final June, POET, which owns 12 Iowa ethanol vegetation, mentioned it will enable Navigator to seize and retailer 5 million tons of CO2 from POET amenities beginning in 2025.

These letters of intent aren’t public data, so it is not clear what sort of offers the ethanol vegetation have made with the pipeline corporations. The Gazette requested POET whether or not its letter of intent would prohibit the corporate from working with CapCO2 or different different carbon seize suppliers.

POET shouldn’t be concerned with CapCO2, spokeswoman Erin Swift mentioned in an electronic mail. We proceed to discover all out there choices to attain our aim of carbon internet neutrality by 2050.

Navigator didn’t reply the query of whether or not ethanol vegetation, similar to these owned by POET, have the liberty below their letter of intent to discover carbon seize applied sciences unrelated to the pipeline.

Navigator and our shippers anticipate progress in alternatives related to the additional processing and use of CO2, the corporate mentioned in a press release to The Gazette on Friday.

Nonetheless, many of those technological propositions are nonetheless below improvement. Moreover, when it comes to scaling and optimizing these further processing applied sciences, the aggregation of CO2 provides and the environment friendly transport of that product to a central facility will likely be required, that means that trade will nonetheless vastly want the infrastructure of the pipeline.

The Gazette requested Wolf if the letter of intent signed with ADM would enable ADM to work with different carbon seize suppliers.

CO2 on the Clinton and Cedar Rapids amenities is denoted by the Mount Simon Hub, the title the corporate has given to its proposed Iowa pipeline, Wolf replied in an electronic mail.

Feedback: (319) 339-3157;

Kim Junker, who farms in central Iowa’s Grundy County, speaks at an anti-carbon seize pipeline rally on the Iowa Capitol Wednesday in Des Moines. (Erin Murphy/Des Moines Bureau Gazette)

An indication opposing a proposed CO2 pipeline in Linn County is seen below a wood sculpture of an alpaca at Alpaca Fiber Arts alongside Ivanhoe Street in rural Mount Vernon. Wolf Carbon Options mentioned it won’t use eminent area in constructing the 280-mile metal pipeline from Cedar Rapids to Decatur, Ailing. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

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