CCUS Explained

Carbon Capture, Utilization, & Storage (CCUS) is essential infrastructure for achieving a net-neutral economy.

While there are several ways to manage carbon emissions, global climate leaders agree, CCUS is necessary to reach our collective neutrality goals by 2050.

How it Works

CCUS captures carbon dioxide (CO₂) sources produced by industrial facilities that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The process is broken down into five steps:

CO₂ Emissions are Produced

Heartland Greenway has partnered with several ethanol and fertilizer plants in the Midwest where CO₂ emissions result from their production processes.  

CO₂ is Captured & Liquified

Heartland Greenway gathers produced CO₂ before combustion using a biogenic capture process.  The CO₂ is compressed, filtered and cooled, helping it to transition from a gas to a liquid.

CO₂ is Transported with Pipelines

The liquified CO₂ is transported via pipelines to its final destination: either offtake hubs for commercial utilization, or injection wells for permanent sequestration (storage).

carbon dioxide utilization

Some CO₂ is Reused

Utilization involves using captured CO₂ for commercial purposes, such as the food and beverage industry, the production of chemicals and fuels, and the manufacture of building materials. Commercial utilization can help to offset the costs of capturing and storing CO₂ while also reducing emissions.

CO₂ is Stored Deep Underground

Sequestration is the process of permanently storing CO₂ more than 1 mile underground in proven geologic formations in the Illinois basin where it mineralizes into a solid and is prevented from entering the atmosphere. 

Safely Managing Emissions

Carbon capture, utilization, and storage [CCUS] has been used for decades to safely reduce emissions and protect the environment. 

Today’s CCUS technology has advanced to become one of the best ways to remove carbon dioxide from agricultural and industrial processes to help meet changing environmental regulations.

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Get answers to the most commonly asked questions about carbon capture, from process and benefits to impact and implementation.

Carbon dioxide, also known as CO₂, is a naturally occurring gas that is colorless and odorless. It is formed through respiration and combustion and is a vital component of the Earth’s carbon cycle. However, CO2 emissions from human activities has continued to grow globally, and with growing attention to climate and carbon intensity, many industries are looking for ways to manage their CO2.

The process of carbon sequestration involves capturing carbon dioxide from various sources such as power plants and industrial processes, and storing it in long-term storage solutions or geological formations. This has the potential to effectively reduce global warming by decreasing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Carbon sequestration is a promising method of mitigating climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and preventing it from contributing to the greenhouse effect.

Carbon capture technology is a widely accepted and efficient method for capturing and storing carbon dioxide emissions from various sources such as power plants and industrial processes. A range of techniques including absorption, adsorption, and membrane separation are employed in carbon capture systems to capture CO2 from waste streams and flue gases. After capturing the CO2, it is compressed and transported to storage sites for long-term storage in suitable locations or geological formations. Carbon capture has the potential to significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions and alleviate the impacts of climate change, but it should be combined with other strategies for deep and rapid emissions reductions since it is not a comprehensive solution for global warming.

When carbon capture pipelines are constructed, operated, and maintained in accordance with industry standards and best practices, they are considered one of the safest methods of transportation. Stringent regulations and safety protocols are in place to ensure that these pipelines do not pose a threat to the environment or human beings. Multiple layers of protection, such as corrosion-resistant coatings, pressure monitoring, and emergency shutdown systems, are incorporated into the design of pipeline systems for carbon capture and storage. Moreover, to reduce the risk of accidents or incidents, these pipelines are typically located away from densely populated areas, critical water resources, and sensitive ecosystems.

Carbon capture technology has been in development for several decades, and the first large-scale demonstration project was conducted in the 1970s. However, the idea of carbon capture has been around for much longer, with early research on capturing and storing CO2 dating back to the early 20th century. In response to the pressing need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, significant strides have been made in the development and deployment of carbon capture technology in recent years. 

CO₂ is transported through pipelines either as a supercritical fluid or a compressed gas. Compression reduces the volume of CO₂, enabling it to be transported efficiently via the pipeline. High-density steel is used to construct CO₂ transport pipelines, which are designed to withstand high pressure. Before transport, the CO₂ may be dehydrated and purified to meet industry standards. During transportation, the pipeline is closely monitored to detect any leaks or other safety or environmental risks. Upon arrival at its destination, CO₂ can be utilized for various industrial and commercial applications or stored for long-term sequestration.

Capturing Carbon Benefits All of Us

Through carbon capture, we can make a positive impact on the environment, economy, and communities across the Midwest.

Support Midwest Economy

Heartland Greenway can boost the Midwest economy by incorporating carbon capture as part of agricultural processing. The result is renewable fuels, a value-added price on corn, and allowing the Midwest to reap the economic advantages.

Prioritize CO2 Utilization

At Heartland Greenway, we don’t just capture carbon, we put it to good use. We are among the first large CCUS projects in the US to prioritize reusing captured carbon, supporting industries that need it, and paving the way for a more sustainable future.

Advance Carbon Neutrality

Achieving carbon neutrality is essential for a sustainable future for the Midwest. We are leading the way by incorporating carbon capture as part of the agricultural process.