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Green Plains and Summit Carbon Solutions partner in biorefinery CCS

US agri-business Green Plains Inc. (GPRE)  has announced that three of its ethanol biorefineries have entered into a long-term carbon offtake agreement with Summit Carbon Solutions (SCS), a newly formed subsidiary of Summit Agricultural Group (SAG). In tandem, SCS also announced a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) project that will create the infrastructure to transport carbon dioxide (CO2) from Iowa (IA) to North Dakota (ND) for deposit into geologic storage.

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Green Plains owns and operates 12 biorefineries in Indiana (IN), Illinois (IL), Iowa (IA), Minnesota (MN), Nebraska, (NB), and Tennessee (TN) with a combined capacity to produce 1.0 billion (US) gallons (≈ 3.78 billion litres) of biofuels annually. Three of these ethanol biorefineries have entered into a long-term carbon offtake agreement with Summit Carbon Solutions (SCS), a newly formed subsidiary of Summit Agricultural Group (SAG) that is developing one of the largest carbon capture and sequestration projects (CCS) in the world (photo courtesy Green Plains).

Capturing and storing carbon is widely viewed as a key technology for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and combatting climate change. With this announcement, the biorefineries attached to the pipeline can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of their biofuels.

In addition, Green Plains’ Ultra-High Protein, renewable corn oil, and other sustainable products will become true low carbon ingredients for aquaculture, pet food, dairy, and poultry companies, and low carbon feedstocks for renewable diesel.

The partnership with Summit Carbon Solutions aligns with our ongoing transformation to lead the way in sustainable biorefining. The future is low carbon, and while we have already made enormous strides in improving the efficiencies and sustainability of our processes through Project 24 and Fluid Quip’s extensive IP suite, taking advantage of the advancements in carbon sequestration is the next logical step of our evolution, said Todd Becker, President, and CEO of Green Plains.

Develop world’s largest CCS project

Summit Carbon Solutions (SCS) is a new business platform launched by Summit Agricultural Group (SAG) that will address the global challenge of decarbonization by developing the world’s largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.

In doing so, Summit Carbon Solutions will accelerate the transition toward sustainable, renewable energy by dramatically lowering the carbon footprint of biorefineries and other carbon dioxide (CO2) emission sources throughout the Midwestern region of the United States.

Summit Carbon Solutions is a truly transformational project. This opportunity helps satisfy the urgent global need to decarbonize and meets the ever-growing demand for low carbon fuels by collaborating with leading biorefineries to capture and store carbon on a scale not yet achieved anywhere in the world, said Summit Ag Investors President Justin Kirchhoff.

When fully developed, Summit Carbon Solutions will have an infrastructure network capable of capturing and permanently storing more than 10 million tonnes of CO2 annually. In addition to the project’s positive environmental impact, it will enhance the economic sustainability of the biofuels and agriculture industries, while providing tremendous benefits to communities across the Midwest in the form of significant private investment and job creation.

This is a giant leap forward for the biofuels industry. Carbon capture and storage is a future-focused solution that allows the biorefiners to lower their already attractive carbon footprint by up to 50 percent. Simply put, this will be the most impactful development for the biofuels industry and Midwestern agriculture in decades. We are grateful for our partnership with a significant group of forward-thinking biorefiners who have agreed to partner with us on this exciting new venture, said Bruce Rastetter, CEO of Summit Agricultural Group.

Summit Carbon Solutions is proceeding with initial engineering, design, and permitting associated with the project, which will permanently store CO2 in underground saline geologic formations.

Connect three Green Plains biorefineries

Green Plains will initially connect the biorefineries at Fairmont and Fergus Falls, Minnesota (MN), and Superior, Iowa (IA), and have the option to expand to additional locations as the pipeline network grows.

By capturing and sequestering the carbon dioxide from our biorefineries, we are able to reduce our CI score by as much as 50 percent, comparable or lower than other low carbon fuels available in the market today, and position our renewable fuels for low carbon markets globally. Based on current LCFS markets, we believe we can achieve a minimum of 15 cents per gallon margin uplift as well as the potential for carbon credits, 45Q tax incentives, and direct returns on our investment in the pipeline and SCS, said Todd Becker.

Green Plains will make an initial investment in Summit Carbon Solutions to help fund the development of the project and expects the pipeline to begin operation in late 2024.

Combined with growth in sustainable Ultra-High Protein, clean sugar production, and renewable corn oil, carbon capture and sequestration will usher in a new era for our biorefinery products. We believe this puts ethanol on a path toward achieving carbon neutrality. Collaborating with SCS on this project will help to address the urgent global need for decarbonization while contributing to the infrastructure necessary to launch full-scale carbon capture and sequestration for biorefineries across the Midwest, ended Todd Becker.

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