A carbon capture developer plans to capture and store the CO2 emissions of an ethanol plant, like the one pictured above, in Indiana.

4th developer seeks to capture, store carbon from ethanol plants in US Midwest

January 12, 2023

A developer and an ethanol plant are seeking regulatory approval to store carbon dioxide underground in Randolph County, Ind., adding to the growing roster of carbon capture and storage projects in the U.S. Midwest.

The two companies, under the name One Carbon Partnership LP, asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to issue a permit to drill a Class VI well used to inject CO2 into the ground. The request was listed as "pending" on the EPA's website as of Jan. 12.

The project is a joint venture of Vault 44.01 Inc., a Calgary, Alberta-based carbon capture developer, and Indiana ethanol producer Cardinal Ethanol LLC. Vault President and CEO Scott Rennie said the facility would store emissions from Cardinal's nearby ethanol plant.

At least three other developers are planning interstate pipeline networks in nearby states to off-take the CO2 emissions of ethanol plants. Two of those companies, Navigator CO2 Ventures and Wolf Carbon Solutions US LLC, plan to pipe the CO2 to Illinois for permanent underground storage. A third developer, Summit Carbon Solutions LLC, would pipe the emissions to North Dakota, one of the few states with regulatory authority over Class VI wells.

Carbon capture is a tool for lowering the carbon footprint of emissions sources, such as refineries or power plants. The U.S. federal government subsidizes the technology with tax credits, newly expanded by the Inflation Reduction Act, that pay emitters up to $85 for every tonne of CO2 captured and stored.

One Carbon Partnership is the second Indiana project to seek a permit from the EPA, which has at least two dozen applications pending in other states. The agency has struggled to keep pace with the boom in CO2 storage development, driven in part by the government tax credits. To date, the EPA has permitted only two Class VI wells.

Meanwhile, CO2 pipeline developers are facing regulatory obstacles at the state and local levels, driven by pushback from environmentalists and landowners. In November 2022, Summit sued two Iowa counties along its planned pipeline route over new ordinances on the siting of hazardous materials pipelines. The developer has yet to apply for a Class VI well permit.

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