Wolf Carbon Solutions has withdrawn its permit application to build a carbon capture pipeline in Illinois, the latest setback for technology in recent months, Reuters reported on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023.
The pipeline, which would have transported up to 12 million tons of carbon dioxide annually to a storage site in Decatur, Illinois, faced opposition from landowners and environmental groups, prompting the company to withdraw the permit application.
Wolf is the latest company to face drawbacks barely a month after Nebraska-based Navigator CO2 Ventures canceled its Heartland Greenway pipeline project in October. Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions also had its pipeline permit applications for the North Dakota section denied in August and South Dakota in September.
Earlier, the Illinois Commerce Commission staff also recommended denying Wolf Carbon Solutions the permit application, citing concerns about the company's agreement with Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM), which owns the ethanol plants that would have been the source of the captured carbon.
Wolf Carbon said it will refile the permit application in early 2024 after addressing the concerns raised by the ICC staff. The company remains committed to the project, which it says would help reduce emissions from the ethanol industry.
The ethanol industry is increasingly relying on carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce its emissions and remain competitive with electric vehicles. CCS technology captures carbon dioxide from industrial processes and stores it underground, preventing it from entering the atmosphere.
Despite the setbacks, CCS is seen as a key part of the Biden administration's plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The US federal administration has announced $11.5 billion in funding for CCS projects, and the Department of Energy is working to develop new CCS technologies.
However, CCS remains a controversial technology, with critics raising concerns about its cost, environmental risks, and the potential for leakage.
The withdrawal of Wolf Carbon's permit application is a blow to the ethanol industry and the CCS industry as a whole. However, it is unclear whether this setback will derail the industry's long-term plans for CCS.