Who Proposing these Projects?
The following corporations have projects proposed in the Midwest. Navigator CO2 Ventures and ADM / Wolf Carbon Solutions transport carbon from the west into Illinois, where it will be stored.
Navigator CO2 Ventures
Navigator CO₂ Ventures, LLC is a Texas-based midstream infrastructure company focused on providing industrial customers in the Midwest with innovative carbon capture and storage solutions. It is a company developed and managed by the Navigator Energy Services (Navigator) management team. Navigator CO2 Venture's website says it is doing its part to address climate change, while Navigator Energy Services boasts that it is the largest crude oil midstream provider in the Anadarko Basin.
Navigator has partnered with Tenaska, a private energy company in the U.S. that, in 2011, attempted to build a coal gasification plant with carbon sequestration in Christian County. That project was canceled in 2014 due to costs. Other partners include:
- Advanced Resources International Inc., an industry leading consulting and development firm in the carbon storage, unconventional resources, and enhanced oil recovery space; and
- Chabina Energy Partners, the leading strategic advisor dedicated to advancing renewable fuels and related decarbonization activity (CCUS) across the transportation, manufacturing, and energy sectors.
Dubbed the Heartland Greenway, Navigator's proposed 1,300-mile-long CO2 pipeline will serve 20 or more ethanol and fertilizer plants, and transport 15 million tons of CO2 annually across South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois to a pre-determined location in Christian County, where they say it will be stored a mile or more underground.
ADM / Wolf Carbon Solutions
Wolf Carbon Solutions currently owns and operates the only private carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) system in North America: Alberta Carbon Trunk Line; a 150-mile pipeline with capability of transporting up to 14.6 million tons of CO2 per year. Wolf has partnered with Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) to implement a CCS system that will travel from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Decatur, Illinois. ADM s a food processing and commodities trading corporation that operates over 400 crop procurement facilities and 270 food processing plants across the globe.
Phase I includes the capture, transport, and sequestration of 5 to 6 million tons of CO2 each year. Phase II increase that capacity to 12 million tons of CO2 annually, by expanding Midwest and Ohio valley industrial markets. Phase III envisions adding cement, steel, power plants and other emitters.
The 300-mile-long CO2 pipeline will connect ethanol and fertilizer plants from Iowa and Illinois, and transport captured CO2 to a sequestration reservoir near Decatur, Illinois. Since 2017, ADM has been capturing and sequestering about 500,000 tons of CO2 annually, at its Decatur facility.
Summit Carbon Solutions
Summit Carbon Solutions is an Affiliate of Summit Agricultural Group. Summit Agricultural Group is a diversified agribusiness operator and investment manager with operations in the United States and Brazil
Summit's project will connect 30 ethanol biorefineries across five states in the upper Midwest: Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota – with the largest portion of the project, consisting of 12 ethanol biorefineries and over 680 miles of carbon dioxide pipeline, in Iowa. The CO2 captured from these facilities will be transported to a sequestration site in North Dakota.
With over 2,000 miles of CO2 pipeline proposed, Summit Carbon Solutions project is the largest planned in the Midwest.
CO2 Pipelines Transport Carbon to Illinois
For Geological Storage
Many tout geological carbon capture and sequestration an essential component of any strategy developed to tackle climate change. First, the carbon is captured from industrial or power plants. Then it is transported by pipeline, where it is infected deep into the ground (a mile or more) where it is stored in geologic formations or rocks. Both Navigator CO2 Ventures and ADM / Wolf Carbon Solutions plan to inject it into the Mt. Simon Sandstone. saline reservoir. This formation is capped by the Eau Claire Formation, identified as the primary seal that would prevent the upward migration of CO2 following injection.
This technology allows fossil fuels to be burned in a carbon constrained economy. But, will it work? Is it safe? Can it be rapidly deployed?
Uncertainties and Potential Hazards
In concept geological carbon capture and storage appears to be essential in a rapidly warming world. But, as with CO2 pipelines, CCS technology is fraught with concerns and potential hazards.
The purpose of this section of this website is to raise questions and concerns about this technology, which, at the scale proposed, remains unproven. Concerns and questions that need to be addressed when considering carbon sequestration projects in Illinois and other Midwestern states include the following:
Permanent Storage - Can CO2 be permanently sequestered? What about unmapped fractures in the cap rock, or migration back to the surface along wells?
Water Contamination - What is the potential for contaminating drinking water, when CO2 comes into contact with groundwater?
Induced Earthquakes - If wastewater injection into oil and gas wells causes earthquakes, will injecting CO2 into the ground also induce earthquakes? If that happens, could the CO2 be released?
Crop Yield - Can CO2 leaking from a sequestration site damage farmland and crops?
Capacity of the Storage Area - Can the capacity of the sequestration area is exceeded? If so, is this cause for concern?
Liability - Who is liable, in the event of a leak? And, if a CO2 leak is detected, can it be stopped? Who is responsible for monitoring and managing the sequestration area once the company leaves?
What's Really Behind the CCS Projects in the Midwest?
Midwestern companies planning to capture, transport, and store CO2 from industrial ethanol and fertilizer plants across the Midwest highlight the amount of CO2 their projects will capture and sequester, thereby contributing to the reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere. But they fail to mention the vast profits CO2 pipelines and CCS can generate. Nor do they mention these projects are heavily funded by the taxpayer, who also bears the risk.
A lot of money has been made available by the federal government to support carbon capture and sequestration.over the years, despite the fact that this technology also happens to be one of the most costly of all climate solutions underway. In fact, $10.7 billion taxpayer dollars have been spent on this technology from 2010 to 2020. Yet, 80% of the projects that have attempted to to commercialize carbon capture and sequestration technology, have ended in failure.
Currently, the federal government is subsidizing carbon sequestration via Section 45Q of the U.S. tax code to the tune of $50 per ton of CO2 stored; or $35 per ton of CO2 used to recover oil and then stored. It is anticipated that those rates will increase to $85 and $50 in the future. Those planned increases have bipartisan support. That's a lot of money, and explains the rush to build these projects, despite the uncertainties and risks.
A False Solution
Carbon capture and sequestration keeps us entrenched in fossil fuels. It is a false climate solution that detracts from real solutions, many of which can be put in place rapidly. These include: decarbonizing buildings; accelerating the deployment of renewables; electrifying our transportation system; upgrading the grid; and protecting andr expanding natural climate sinks such as oceans and forests
Some of these corporations also have said they are open to diverting some of the CO2 captured for enhanced oil recovery, a process that uses carbon dioxide to force out otherwise unrecoverable oil. That would negate much of the reason for sequestering the CO2 in the first place, since using oil as a source of fuel will generate more carbon. We need real climate solutions that keep fossil fuels in the ground, rather than CO2 pipelines and CCS technologies that are subsidized by the taxpayer and put humanity at risk.