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Gevo: Approve Carbon Pipeline Within Six Months, Or We Leave South Dakota!

Prospective biofuel processor Gevo is now backing up its threat to pull its billion-dollar state-subsidized project out of Kingsbury County and South Dakota with a deadline: approve the Summit Carbon Solutions carbon-dioxide pipeline within six months, or we’re outta here:

South Dakota could lose its largest proposed economic development project if the carbon dioxide sequestration landscape doesn’t change, Gevo’s chief executive officer said this week.

“If we don’t have resolution, say, in six months, I think I better move to another state. That’s what I think. I need to have a line of sight that it’s gonna happen for real,” Dr. Patrick Gruber, the CEO of Gevo, said Monday in KELOLAND News interview.

…Gevo planned to work with Summit as CO2 from the plant would be transported in the Summit pipeline. The plant site would include an ethanol plant and a hydrocarbon plant.

Gruber said Gevo has already invested at least $100 million in the state and wants to stay here. Yet, the existing landscape makes it more difficult to secure investors, he said.

…CO2 pipelines and sequestration have met resistance in South Dakota, but it’s part of the future of carbon abatement and renewable and sustainable fuel, he said.

“People need to understand this ship has left. It has left,” Gruber said. “Sequestration is going to happen. Does South Dakota want to participate or not? That’s it. That’s a fair choice for everybody” [Rae Yost, “State Could Lose $1 Billion Project, Gevo CEO Says,” KELO-TV, 2023.11.01].

Dr. Gruber does not address in this KELO interview one major source of opposition to Summit’s pipeline, the company’s use of eminent domain to seize land rights along the route. Carbon sequestration may be just as great as Gevo’s bio-jetfuel, but as long as it is a private business making private profit, it ought not use eminent domain.

But there you have it: if the four counties (Minnehaha, Brown, Spink, and McPherson) that imposed zoning ordinances blocking Summit Carbon Solutions’ original route don’t rewrite their ordinances and if the Public Utilities Commission does not receive, hear, and approve a new application from Summit or some other ambitious pipeliner in six months, by the beginning of May 2024, Gevo will pick up its toys and cash and move.


  1. Richard Schriever 2023-11-02 06:34

    Move where? There are other states to DF where CO2 is produced by these sorts of folks that will also not allow the pipeline route to be profited by corporate land seizure.

  2. Donald Pay 2023-11-02 06:47


  3. sx123 2023-11-02 07:05

    Gevo stock is $1.10 and they don’t have a lot of revenue, so not sure what position they are in to threaten anyone.

  4. sx123 2023-11-02 07:10

    afaik, many (most?) of the existing co2 pipleines are used as sources of co2 for industry and fracking/EOR.

  5. O 2023-11-02 08:44

    How about a counter: leave SD; don’t get SD corn?

  6. Nix 2023-11-02 08:47

    Is there a way to get reimbursement for a chiropractic visit from Summit Carbon ?
    My arm is swollen and sore from waving
    goodbye to the Dan Lederman s*it show.
    I actually may have torn a ligament.
    Good riddance…..

  7. larry kurtz 2023-11-02 09:25

    Yes, socialized agriculture, dairies, cheese, livestock production, timber, air service, rail, nursing homes, internet even socialized gas well remediation are all fine with SDGOP but then they insist single-payer medical insurance is socialized medicine.

  8. e platypus onion 2023-11-02 09:42

    “People need to understand this ship has left. It has left,” Gruber said. “Sequestration is going to happen. Does South Dakota want to participate or not? That’s it. That’s a fair choice for everybody”

    Put it to a public vote and let the public decide, even though magats will over rule the public’s choice.

  9. Gail L Swenson 2023-11-02 09:44

    This is the opinion piece Gevo wrote in my hometown paper, The Kingsbury Journal. (Oct. 25, 2023, p. 3) Ground was broken for the plant in Lake Preston several months ago. This is FYI only. gs

    Gevo outlines pivotal role of carbon capture and storage in advancing opportunities
    Lake Preston, South Dakota – Gevo, Inc., a leading renewable fuels and chemicals company, recently met with key officials represent-ing various sectors in Kingsbury County, South Dakota. The meeting brought together members of the Lake Preston City Council, school district leadership, utility providers,
    farmers, and wind turbine lease-holders.
    The focus of this meeting was to provide an update on Gevo’s Net-Zero 1 (NZ1) initiative, and to emphasize the pivotal role of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in advancing opportunity in South Dakota. Gevo’s CEO, Dr. Patrick Gruber; President & Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Chris Ryan; and Director of State Government Affairs, Kent Hartwig, discussed the significance of CCS for the NZ1 initiative.

    “Let me be clear, Gevo does not want to leave South Dakota. We have a strong commitment to the state, our investments in Lake Preston, and to the local producers. We are just here to state the facts. CCS has increased in value and is the new competitive standard based on the economics that are coming out of new federal policies, thus giving an advantage to states that have or will adopt CCS. If South Dakota doesn’t adopt CCS, Gevo would potentially be disadvantaged by 30 carbon intensity points. That equates up to $0.90 per gallon in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) value and would result in a loss of about $0.30-0.40 per gallon in other clean fuel incentives. That doesn’t make good business sense,” noted Dr. Patrick Gruber, CEO.
    Supporting Local Farmers and Ethanol producers: Under new federal policies based on fuel carbon intensity, CCS is expected to be valued at about 30 carbon intensity (CI) points, which translates to tangible economic benefits for both ethanol and SAF production. Expressed on a corn basis, the total potential value is equivalent to approximately $2 per bushel of corn. Also, in an era of growing interest in electric vehicles, Gevo believes CCS is essential for the South Dakota ethanol market to maintain its competitiveness.
    The Stakes: Without CCS, Gevo would potentially be disadvantaged by around 30 CI points, and this disadvantage could cause Gevo to seek opportunities in states that offer CCS. Ideally, Gevo doesn’t want to make a change as it would deprive central South Dakota of a potentially $1 billion or more of NZ1 in-
    vestment and eliminate the expected regional economic potential of $200-400 million annually and hundreds of jobs.
    Status of NZ1: Gevo has demonstrated a substantial commitment to South Dakota by investing approximately $100 million in the NZ1 project to date for engineering, site development, and long lead equipment. The completed engineering work covers carbohydrates to ethanol, ethanol to jet fuel, and the balance of plant, with multiple patents filed to protect innovations. The project’s financing for NZ1 is currently in progress, and efforts are underway to finalize price and schedule for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contracts. In addition, the company has entered the due diligence process for a Department of Energy loan guarantee, indicating a pursuit of further financial support. Furthermore, Gevo has agreements with farmers covering over 57,000
    acres in the region in our Climate Smart Commodities program, monitored by Verity, a positive step towards securing essential resources.
    It is important to note that the Gevo NZ1 design is a “design one, build many” approach. Gevo owns the plant design and is working hard to make sure that the designs could also be applied at other sites with a minimum amount of change. Gevo is pursuing several other locations across the Midwest to build out our plant network. It currently has a purchase option in place for another attractive potential site in Southeast South Dakota. No decisions havebeen made to move forward, but this site may have the potential for a future Gevo plant.

    Gevo: The Lake Preston NZ1 facility is estimated to be the largest economic development project in South Dakota history with an estimated annual regional value of greater than $200 million. It is also expected to:
    • Attract capital investment of potentially over $1 billion
    • Create approximately 450 fulltime jobs (direct, indirect, and induced)
    • Annually source 38 million bushels of locally grown corn from sustainable agriculture practices
    • Annually produce 65 million gallons of renewable transportation fuels
    • Annually produce ~1.5 billion pounds of low carbon animal feed and protein on a wet basis to put back into the region and market
    • Annually produce ~34 million pounds of low carbon corn oil, which is a valuable feedstock to produce renewable diesel or biodiesel
    • Capture and sequester up to 290,000 tons of biogenic CO2
    Zero6 Energy: Plans to construct a $200+ million wind farm and $65+ million green hydrogen production facility to supply NZ1’s electrical and hydrogen needs. This is expected to create over 200 construction jobs and 15 full-time positions.
    Summit Carbon Solutions: Expected to support over 2,300 jobs and create an annual economic impact of $77 million in South Dakota and $13 million in annual tax revenue.
    Kingsbury Electric Cooperative and East River Electric Power Cooperative: Gevo is working with these electric cooperative utilities to build the electrical infrastructure that will serve NZ1 with power and benefit the wider communities they serve

  10. e platypus onion 2023-11-02 09:44

    There is the people’s choice and then there is the real one party people’s choice.

  11. O 2023-11-02 10:17

    And what is GEVO’s upside in profit for the project? The SD upside is a wonderful talking point for the company, but the REAL decision is made by what their upside is. I’m reminded of Frank Herbert’s words in Dune: “He who can destroy a thing, can control a thing.” this seems to have devolved into a fight over control — proven by destruction.

  12. Donald Pay 2023-11-02 11:34

    South Dakota boards and commissions can approve with conditions. One condition would be that the company could not use eminent domain to acquire any part of the route. Others would be to establish safety protocols, environmental protection measures, strict liability for any environmental problems that develop. They could develop local sequestration using their own land. No pipeline required.

  13. Ed 2023-11-02 11:49

    GEVO is a financially strapped company who relies on total subsidy support to exist. They are an out of state company from Colorado who has come here to exploit our state taxpayers. Governor Noem gave them a gift of 187 million dollars so far to operate. Her son in law is their lobbyist. No conflict there, right? GEVO’s stock is selling today at $1.04 per share, nearly worthless. They support using eminent domain on property owners to connect to Summit’s CO2 pipeline. Their economic projections are no doubt highly suspect. We should not cave to their threatened blackmail to leave the state. They were not a part of Summit’s pipeline proposal that was denied by the PUC. It’s doubtful that any other state would allow them to receive the kind of giveaway that our state does. If they choose to leave, our taxpayers and property owners would be better off. GEVO is another grift scandal waiting to happen similar to EB-5 and GEAR-Up.

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