Carbon is a buzz word, especially related to the fuel supply. A top priority for Iowa Corn is building markets and demand for corn. It’s no secret that ethanol is a top market for corn grind, and we are working to increase ethanol’s share of the fuel tank.
Ethanol is the most immediate and affordable low carbon fuel solution in the market today. Ethanol plants and individual farmers have invested in carbon pipeline projects to gain access to additional markets by reducing ethanol’s carbon intensity score and making it an even lower carbon fuel. Currently there are two carbon pipeline projects proposed to go through Iowa, and ICGA members are asking about landowner rights and eminent domain. We strongly believe in individual landowner rights, and we encourage farmers to have conversations with the companies as well as seek legal counsel.
“Low carbon fuel” is any transportation fuel from non-petroleum origin that reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil-based gasoline or diesel. Corn ethanol is an example of a low carbon fuel, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 46% on average compared to gasoline. Policies such as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) have created incentives to encourage the production and use of low carbon fuel, and additional low carbon fuel policies are being contemplated at both the federal and state levels. Currently, a top legislative priority for ICGA is the Next Generation Fuels Act, that paves a way to incorporate higher ethanol blends into America's fuel supply, increasing corn demand.
Carbon intensity (CI) is a measure or “score” of the rate of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy consumed in an activity or production process. In the context of climate discussions and low carbon fuel policies, fuels with lower CI scores are favored by receiving greater incentives. Therefore, under low carbon fuel policies, fuels such as corn ethanol stand to benefit by lowering their CI scores. Options to lower the CI score of corn ethanol include adopting certain farming practices, utilizing wind and solar power, maximizing efficiency of ethanol plant operations and adopting technology such as Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS).
Carbon dioxide emissions from processing facilities like ethanol plants are captured before the emissions can be released into the atmosphere. Then the carbon dioxide is transported via pipeline to geological formations and injected thousands of feet underground where it is sequestered under layers of impermeable rock.
The Carbon Sequestration Tax Credit, also known as 45Q based on its section in the tax code, incentivizes carbon capture and sequestration practices. The credit amount is based on each metric ton of qualified carbon dioxide captured and sequestered. To be eligible to receive the tax credit, carbon emissions must be measured at capture as well as injection and meet specific sequestration storage requirements.
The Iowa Corn Growers Association along with the National Corn Growers Association support the Next Generation Fuels Act, a common-sense solution that Americans - and our country's corn farmers - need. This bipartisan legislation paves a way to incorporating higher ethanol blends into America's fuel supply, increasing ethanol demand and ultimately corn grind. Increased ethanol demand will bolster farm incomes, helping family-owned farms keep pace with technological developments and remain globally competitive.
The legislation takes a cooperative approach to reducing carbon emissions, while protecting the livelihood of farmers and ensuring consumers continue to have affordable fuel and vehicle choices. This legislation requires octane sources used in the new fuels to result in at least 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than unblended gasoline, reducing emissions compared to what is currently available. Today's ethanol is nearly 50% lower in carbon intensity than gasoline and continues to improve, thanks to ongoing environmental footprint reductions on corn farms and at ethanol production plants.
The Next Generation Fuels Act is a common-sense solution to successfully reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality, and ensuring drivers have more affordable low carbon choices.
One of the long-standing positions of Iowa Corn has been and continues to be, we believe in individual landowner rights. We will not, nor do we believe anyone should tell you what to do with your land.
ICGA works to support state and federal policy on renewable fuels, decrease regulatory burdens on the livestock industry and much more. The single most important action we take for our members is to support sound policy development and pro-farmer legislation.
Here are a few policies related to low carbon fuels:
26. We support the low Carbon Octane Standard utilizing ethanol-based RON 98 (E25+) as the minimum octane level by 2023. (page 32)
27. We support the Next Generation Fuels Act to build low carbon high octane engines. (page 32)
30. We support a change in federal law regarding an ethanol pipeline to allow ethanol to receive guaranteed loans and tax treatment similar to those that petroleum-based fuels receive. (page 32)
51. We support the use of eminent domain by government for public benefit but not for-private for-profit entities. (page 10)
52. We support individual landowner process protections with regard to liquid fuel pipelines and electrical transmission lines. (page 11)
View the full 2022 ICGA Policy Book here.
This is not legal advice. Talk to your attorney concerning legal questions about your farm and before signing any contracts.
ICGA members are reaching out with questions related to the carbon capture pipeline projects in Iowa, we encourage you to reach out directly to the companies to have a conversation.