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Ethanol Plants Could Soon Store Carbon Dioxide Underground
USAgNet - 06/17/2021

A new industry is set to take off in Nebraska. If it works out as backers hope, it would create jobs in the state and offer financial advantages for the state’s ethanol producers. In addition, the industry could have significant implications in the effort to combat climate change.

The groundwork was laid by state Sen. Mike Flood’s LB650, which all but one legislator voted to pass last month. Since then, multiple companies have announced plans to contract with ethanol producers in Nebraska to filter carbon dioxide and permanently store that element in the ground — either in the state or piped elsewhere.

Other production facilities, such as power and fertilizer plants, are also eligible to participate.

Here’s how it works: Instead of allowing carbon dioxide to emit from a producer’s stacks, those stacks would be capped and route the carbon dioxide to a series of compressors. The carbon dioxide is then converted into a transportable form such as liquid and stored well below the surface — at least 2,600 feet below.

Research and development organization Battelle and investment firm Catahoula Resources, for example, want to put the carbon dioxide underneath the ethanol plants or, at most, a few miles away.

Another company, Navigator CO2 Ventures, plans to build a pipeline network encompassing 1,200 miles that would take liquified carbon dioxide from Nebraska and four other states and store it deep underground in the Mount Simon Sandstone Formation in central Illinois.

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