The Future of Biofuels Depends on Carbon Capture

Iowa has the opportunity to lead the nation in tackling carbon emissions by allowing Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) projects, especially as the nation’s leader in corn and biofuel production. CCS projects have the ability to drastically reduce biofuels’ carbon footprint, as they allow carbon currently in the atmosphere to be stored safely and permanently underground. 

Iowa’s premier agriculture economic research and analysis firm, Decision Innovation Solutions (DIS), found that without CCS, the Iowa ethanol industry will be devastated and send shockwaves throughout the Iowa agriculture community. Without the ability of Iowa ethanol plants to utilize carbon capture and sequestration technology, corn leaving Iowa without added value would jump from 6% to 44% by the end of the decade. Regions of the state will experience up to a 75 cent/bushel reduction in corn basis. Ethanol plant premium prices of 16 cents/bushel will also disappear.

Phase 1 results found:

  • Production will migrate out of state. By the end of the decade, Iowa ethanol production could contract by 75% (nearly 3.5 billions gallons per year) leading many plants to shut down.
  • Iowa farmers would lose local markets for over 1 billion bushels of corn annually, depressing local corn prices.
  • Iowa would realize an eventual decline in revenues from ethanol plants of more than $10 billion per year.

Phase 2 results found:

  • Lower basis would cause the profit on corn production to plummet on average by 85% compared to the status quo.
  • Farm income would drop $43,000 for a typical 1000-acre farm split 50/50 between corn and soybeans.
  • Statewide net farm cash income would decline by $1.1 billion per year.

Phase 1 and 2 of the DIS study.

IRFA Comments to Iowa Utilities Board (IUB)

Op-Ed By IRFA Executive Director, Monte Shaw.

Op-Ed by Northwest Iowa Farmer and IRFA President, Al Giese.

Other Resources

Iowa Corn Growers Association

Smart Carbon Network

Midwest Ag Future