From the Desk of Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, Navigator CO2

October 20, 2022 | Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs, Navigator CO2

Agriculture and renewable energy are the largest and most established economic engines in Iowa. It is the ingenuity and efficiencies of farmers who have made Iowa a powerhouse in feeding and fueling the world. Now agricultural innovation will play a major role in capturing and storing carbon emissions from ethanol facilities across the Midwest.

Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technology is critical to our country and even more so to Iowa, because it will allow the renewable fuels industry to continue to innovate so consumers have fuel options that fit their budget, while also supporting rural communities across the nation.

I was blessed to have grown up on my family’s farm in eastern Iowa and have dedicated my professional career to advancing production agriculture and our value-added manufacturers, like our ethanol biorefineries. Innovation is key for any business, and agriculture is no exception. I am excited to help our state lead the way in the development of critical infrastructure to ensure there continues to be competitive markets for the crops grown on Iowa farms, like my family’s, for decades to come.

Heartland Greenway is a forward-thinking, scalable infrastructure system that will materially reduce participants’ carbon intensity and further the goal of carbon neutrality conceived by carbon management company, Navigator CO2. Once fully expanded, the project will have the ability to capture and store 15 million metric tons of CO2 every year—the equivalent of eliminating emissions from over 3.2 million vehicles annually. The system will be built with highly skilled, local labor to ensure it is constructed safely and to last.

Navigator CO2’s mission is to pioneer a path to sustainable carbon solutions, while maximizing value for all stakeholders in the new carbon economy, which is why the proposed pipeline system will provide biofuel producers and other rural industrial processors in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota with a long-term and cost-effective means to reduce their carbon footprint. 

The footprint of Navigator’s project in Iowa contains roughly 810 miles of pipeline, permitted for the transportation of carbon dioxide (CO2) only. This system will capture the carbon emissions from over 30 ethanol and fertilizer facilities and transport it to Central Illinois for its unique geological properties for permanent storage over a mile underground.

Navigator CO2 and its partner facilities, including Iowa’s Big River Resources, OCI Fertilizer, Poet and Valero ethanol facilities, recognize the time is now to take bold action to preserve our planet and corn market for future generations. We look forward to providing a path to net-zero carbon emissions by providing CCUS services for the more than 30 industrial processors across the agriculture and food production value chains along our system’s footprint.

Participating facilities will be able to take full advantage of the benefits and incentives of CCUS. We operate as a common carrier, so that any tax incentives or marketing premiums stay with the facilities and their local communities. Ethanol facilities connected to the Heartland Greenway will see a 20 to 40 cent increase in value per gallon of ethanol and annual revenue gains of up to $20 million to $40 million per plant. 

The Heartland Greenway’s CCUS technology presents a promising pathway to decarbonization as well as providing an economic boost to rural communities across our state and the Midwest. Navigator CO2 continues to exemplify our team’s homegrown values while working to provide a unique opportunity for our biofuel processors and communities to reach the vision of a comprehensive carbon ecosystem in which companies, our agricultural markets, and communities thrive.

Elizabeth Burns-Thompson

Vice President of Government and Public Affairs

Navigator CO2