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  • Blue Flint Ethanol CCS Q&A with Jeff Zueger, Harvestone CEO

    Blue Flint Ethanol CCS Q&A with Jeff Zueger, Harvestone CEO

    In a world increasingly focused on reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change, carbon capture and storage (CCS) has emerged as a critical technology. In a recent interview with Harvestone, GNDC delved into their groundbreaking CO2 Capture project, a key component of their Vision Carbon Zero initiative.

    Jeff Zueger, Harvestone CEO, sat down to share how Harvestone developed this visionary approach. We explore the challenges, innovations, and future prospects of CO2 sequestration, shedding light on its potential to reshape our energy landscape.

    GNDC: The CO2 Capture is a part of the Vision Carbon Zero initiative, how did Harvestone develop this vision and as a professional was it where you saw the industry going 5-10 years ago?
    ZUEGER: At Harvestone we have been a participant in low carbon fuel markets for over a decade given the unique design of our facilities. Our ND assets are co-located with power plants and can utilize thermal energy in our renewable fuel production process that cannot be converted into electricity.   As a participant we recognized that these customers continually increase their objectives for lowering the carbon intensity of the fuels that they purchase, blend, and deliver to their customers. That continuous pursuit of a lower carbon intense fuel compels us to continue to lower the carbon intensity of the fuel we produce to allow our customers to meet their objectives.

    An ethanol bio-refinery processes corn into fuel, feed, oil, and CO2. The biogenic CO2 that is produced at most facilities is vented to the atmosphere. If that CO2 is captured and permanently placed below the ground in a storage reservoir it removes that CO2 emission from the carbon intensity profile for the products that we produce.

    Vision Carbon Zero is a goal of producing renewable fuel with a lifecycle carbon intensity at or below zero. The Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project at Blue Flint is another big step towards that goal. 

    What was one of the biggest obstacles Harvestone overcame with the CCS project?
    One of the biggest obstacles was confirming whether the geology in the Williston Basin could support the CCS project, requiring seismic surveys and a stratigraphic test well, followed by a detailed Class VI permit process and the design and construction of liquefaction equipment.
    Do you feel this project could serve as a role model for other CCS projects? 
    Yes, as the third operational CCS project in the nation, our project can serve as a role model by providing evidence of success and informing the process and pathway for other CCS projects, ultimately helping advance CCS projects in all energy sectors of our state.
    If you could share anything about the CCS project at Blue Flint to ease opposing opinions, what would that be?
    The science behind the CCS project at Blue Flint is proven, with rigorous processes in place to ensure CO2 stays permanently sequestered, backed by financial assurances and strict monitoring, verifying, and reporting plans.
    What are some of the effects of the CCS has on Harvestone as a company and equally the local economy?
    The CCS project ensures the long-term sustainability of the Blue Flint facility, creating opportunities in higher value markets and potential feedstock for Sustainable Aviation Fuels. It also has a positive impact on the regional economy as an employer, processor of corn, seller for feed and fuel, and customer of the power plant, providing stability to the local economy.