Poet announces partnership with Summit Carbon Solutions on CO2 pipeline

January 30, 2024

Joshua Haiar

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.–An ethanol production company headquartered in Sioux Falls announced Monday it will partner with the remaining company looking to build a carbon capture pipeline in South Dakota.

Joshua Haiar with South Dakota Searchlight reports Poet will collaborate with Summit Carbon Solutions to implement carbon capture technology at 17 Poet ethanol plants, including five in South Dakota and 12 in Iowa. The South Dakota plants are located near Big Stone City, Chancellor, Groton, Hudson and Mitchell.

“As the world seeks low-carbon energy solutions, carbon capture ensures that ag-based biofuels will remain competitive for decades to come,” said Poet founder Jeff Broin in a news release.

The decision comes after Poet’s former partner, Navigator CO2 Ventures, failed to obtain a permit in South Dakota and withdrew its pipeline project. That project aimed to transport liquefied carbon dioxide to a storage site in Illinois.

Sabrina Zenor, a spokesperson for Summit, said the addition of Poet became “an inevitability” after Navigator’s proposal ended.

“We are the only carbon capture and sequestration pipeline in this project footprint, and in order for these plants to remain viable, they need to have carbon capture and sequestration,” Zenor said.

A Poet spokesperson declined to say why the company initially elected to partner with Navigator rather than Summit. The companies’ agreements with ethanol producers differ. Navigator would have charged plants to transport carbon dioxide based on how much it was transporting, whereas Summit has preferred profit-sharing agreements.

The Summit pipeline was previously planned to capture carbon dioxide emissions produced by 34 ethanol plants in five states, and transport it for underground storage in North Dakota. The 17 Poet plants would increase the number to 51. Carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change, and federal tax credits are available for sequestering carbon.

The Summit project has faced regulatory challenges and has suffered permit rejections in North Dakota and South Dakota. A permit decision is imminent in Iowa. The company has said it is working to refine its proposal to meet South Dakota requirements and plans to resubmit an application.

Summit estimates about 4.7 million tons of carbon dioxide will be captured from the 17 Poet plants.

Zenor said the pipeline will not have to be bigger in diameter to handle the additional liquid CO2. She did not immediately reply to a question about how the addition of Poet plants will impact the project cost, which had been estimated at $5.5 billion.

Meanwhile, some landowners on the former Navigator route who were opposed to that project are not excited to hear they may now have to deal with Summit.

“It’s certainly not a surprise,” said Jason VanDenTop, who farms near Canton. “I knew that was not going to be the end of the deal. They invested too much time and money.”


Poet’s full news release on the announcement reads:

AMES, IA. AND SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — In a major step forward for the future of agriculture and biofuels, POET and Summit Carbon Solutions (Summit) announced a groundbreaking partnership connecting the world’s largest biofuel producer with the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project. This collaboration brings together two entities—both founded upon creating new agricultural markets and supporting rural communities—to capture the value of the biogenic CO2 from the bioethanol production process.

The partnership strategically expands the carbon opportunity across the Midwest by incorporating POET’s 12 facilities in Iowa and five facilities in South Dakota into the Summit project. This addition will facilitate the capture, transportation, and permanent storage of 4.7 million metric tons of CO2 annually from the 17 POET bioprocessing plants.

“POET is excited to partner with Summit Carbon Solutions on this historic project,” said Jeff Broin, POET Founder and CEO. “As the world seeks low-carbon energy solutions, carbon capture ensures that ag-based biofuels will remain competitive for decades to come. This is a tremendous opportunity to bring value to farmers, bioethanol producers, and rural communities and counties in participating states, and I believe it will unleash even more opportunities for ag and bioprocessing in the future.”

“Today marks a historic day for American agriculture and biofuels. POET is the largest bioethanol producer in the world, and their partnership with Summit Carbon Solutions ensures that decarbonizing bioethanol will lead to exciting new market opportunities for producers, rural economies, and American energy security,” said Bruce Rastetter, Founder and Executive Chairman of Summit Agricultural Group. “I have known Jeff Broin for two decades, and there is no question about his passion, leadership, and influence. It’s an honor to work with him again to help revolutionize biofuels and agriculture for decades to come.”

“Our partnership with POET is creating new economic opportunities in agriculture,” said Lee Blank, CEO of Summit Carbon Solutions. “This initiative is aimed at enhancing the financial profitability of our farmers, contributing to higher land values, and ensuring a more prosperous future for farm families and communities. Our focus is on tangible benefits that directly support the backbone of our nation’s agricultural industry.”

The timeline for the addition of these plants is strategically planned. The plants in South Dakota will be included in the upcoming state application, ensuring a streamlined integration into Summit’s existing project framework. Meanwhile, for the plants in Iowa, separate applications will be filed, acknowledging the unique requirements and opportunities in each state. This structured approach allows Summit to efficiently expand our project scope while adhering to local regulations and needs.

About Summit Carbon Solutions
Summit Carbon Solutions is driving the future of agriculture by expanding economic opportunities for ethanol producers, strengthening the marketplace for Midwest-based farmers, and creating jobs. In developing the largest carbon capture and storage project in the world, the company seeks to connect industrial facilities via strategic infrastructure to store carbon dioxide safely and permanently in the Midwest United States. For more information, visit: www.SummitCarbonSolutions.com.

About POET
POET’s vision is to create a world in sync with nature. As the world’s largest producer of biofuel and a global leader in sustainable bioproducts, POET creates plant-based alternatives to fossil fuels that unleash the regenerative power of agriculture and cultivate opportunities for America’s farm families. Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Sioux Falls, POET operates 34 bioprocessing facilities across eight states and employs more than 2,400 team members. With a suite of bioproducts that includes high-quality animal feed, corn oil, green asphalt rejuvenator, purified alcohol, and renewable CO2, POET nurtures an unceasing commitment to innovation and advances powerful, practical solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Today, POET holds more than 100 patents worldwide and continues to break new ground in biotechnology, yielding lower-carbon, more efficient renewable energy and bioproducts.