CO2 pipeline bill has ethanol group up in arms

A bill in the Iowa House would restrict the use of eminent domain to acquire land for carbon pipeline projects.

House File 368 would require CO2 pipeline companies to gain 90% approval from landowners, and acquire all pipeline construction and zoning permits from the other states the project will be constructed in before being granted eminent domain.

Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, says his group opposes the legislation.

“The practical impact of this bill would be that it would kill the carbon capture and sequestration projects that are ongoing in Iowa that are so vital to the future of Iowa ethanol production,” Shaw said.

Shaw tells Brownfield a new study by the association found that the state could lose over 1 billion bushels of corn annually without carbon sequestration pipelines.

“If we kill these CO2 projects in Iowa, we could see by the end of the decade 75% of Iowa ethanol production migrate to surrounding states that are going to be allowing these projects,” Shaw said.

At a recent rally outside the Iowa Statehouse, bill sponsor Helena Hayes disputed the study’s findings and said the legislation defends private property rights.

“It (the study) pits you,” Hayes said. “You either have to choose to support the ethanol industry, which you do, or try to take a stand for your own personal property rights. That’s not fair because there are options.”

The Mahaska County Republican says the state’s ethanol industry can survive without CO2 pipelines.

The bill recently passed out of an Iowa House subcommittee.

  • CO2 from ethanol fermentation can be captured in greenhouses and used to grow food, feed and fodder instead of carbon sequestration.
    CO2 sequestration is an unproven theory that may work in Iceland where the CO2 from volcanic activity creates a local CO2 surplus and burying it makes some sense because the surface is covered in ice and nonporous. Because of the CO2 surplus AND the surplus of local geothermal energy AND the very cold air in Iceland which makes liquifying CO2 somewhat efficient and cost effective it is a beneficial project in Iceland.
    In the midwest US there is NO surplus of CO2 in the atmosphere, NO surplus geothermal energy and NO ice covering the porous surface. A few simple calculations will probably show that more money and energy will be required to extract, cool, liquify, pump and bury the non-surplus CO2 in the midwest than would be recovered from the supposed increased corn/ethanol production would yield. Furthermore, the cost of the CO2 liquification and pipeline infrastructure would be additional losses as well as the loss of functioning farmland lost to eminent domain. The liquified CO2 also would probably eventually leak back through the surface making the entire CO2 pipline the equivalent of the proverbial Tower of Babel. The CO2 pipeline in the midwest is the result of investors seeking to make a profit using environmental legislation about carbon sequestration which has not been proven or even accurately modeled in the heartland of the midwest. Too bad the investors and legislators supporting this doomed project do not have the mathematical environmental modeling skills required or any common sense. If they did, the entire carbon sequestration hoax would never have become a consideration in the USA.
    As stated in the beginning of this comment, if the CO2 from corn fermentation was released into greenhouses it could be used to grow super crops of things like seed corn, thus gaining carbon credits and saving money spent on corn seed. This could be done with minimal energy and infrastructure expenditures, does not require extraction and liquification of CO2 and accomplishes a better end result of not only making the CO2 derived from fermentation disappear but actually converts it into something useful; and it would accomplish this without all the time energy and money of nonsense legislation and eminent domain issues.

    • FYI Ethanol Industry readers:

      On November 28, 2022, I submitted to Geoff Cooper at RENEWABLE FUELS ASSOCIATION: “A CONTRARIAN PATHWAY to Carbon-net-zero-Ethanol”. My proposal replaced CO2 pipelines with new and disruptive technologies. My proposal included these new CO2 capture and utilization technologies:

      As an economist, I monetized the ethanol CO2 as an “energy carrier” and not a GHG pollutant. Therefore under my CONTRARIAN MODEL, the $Billions in IRS 45Q tax-credits would end up in the bank accounts of the ethanol industry and the corn-sorghum farmers, and NOT in the bank accounts of the CO2 pipeline companies Cooper is supporting.

      FYI: Ethanol industry of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Geoff Cooper ignored my email/proposal!

      I suggest reporter Brent Barnett contact Geoff Cooper and ask him about the (11.28.2022) Carl L. McWilliams’ email proposal: “A CONTRARIAN PATHWAY to Carbon-net-zero-Ethanol”.

      Signed, Carl L. McWilliams
      Sociologist-Economic Developer-Entrepreneur
      Glenwood Springs, Colorado

      • Similar to yours, there is an economical and efficient process to make non-toxic ethanol from a catalyst made of carbon and copper from CO2 and electricity which can be instantly turned on and off. A prototype is being built with Northern Illinois University, Argonne National Laboratory, the University of North Texas and Angstrom Advanced Inc. funded by DOE.

        Newer ethanol plants today use waste steam from natural gas electric plants. Electric plants must operate with excess capacity for peak demand loads. This excess capacity could be used to make ethanol and the equipment to handle the ethanol is already there.

        Nearby windmill farms on especially windy days could send excess capacity as well, making that intermittent power source much more efficient.

  • 100% of the CO2 from the fermentation and burning of ethanol originally just came from the atmosphere and 100% of it is needed to be there to make the new gallon of ethanol. It is a cycle, not newly added.

  • Do you people realize THAT WE DON’T HAVE A CO2 EXCESS? What is wrong with you? Can’t you see this is all to destroy US? Did you forget we are CARBON BASED LIFE FORMS? You people make me sick. To think we have been farming for how many years and all of a sudden you believe Co2 is going to kill us?

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