EPA approves Efficient Producer pathways for 8 ethanol plants

By Erin Voegele | June 02, 2015

In late May, the U.S. EPA approved eight new corn starch pathway under the Efficient Producer pathway petition process, including pathways for Bushmills Ethanol Inc. Atwater, Glacial Lakes Energy Watertown, GLE Aberdeen Energy, Granite Falls Energy LLC, Kansas Ethanol LLC Lyons, Show Me Ethanol LLC Carrollton, Valero Renewable Fuels Co. LLC Hartley and Western New York Energy Medina.

Plants that have approved Efficient Producer pathways are able to generate renewable identification numbers (RINs) for production volumes above those grandfathered under current RFS regulations. A total of 32 plants have now been awarded pathway approvals under the program since the EPA launched the Efficient Producer pathway petition process last year. 

The Efficient Producer petition process was designed by EPA to expedite processing of the large number of petitions submitted by corn starch and grain sorghum ethanol producers. When the renewable fuels standard (RFS) was established in its current form, the rulemaking grandfathered in the production volume of existing corn ethanol plants. To qualify for compliance with the RFS program, any new production above the grandfathered gallons must meet a 20 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction threshold when compared to the program’s gasoline baseline. The Efficient Producer pathway petition process is designed to aid ethanol plants in gaining pathway approval for expanded production above those grandfathered volumes.

Documents published by the EPA indicates Bushmills Atwater achieved 21.2 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction level for its non-grandfathered volumes, while GLE Watertown achieved a 24.7 percent reduction, Aberdeen Energy achieved a 20.1 percent reduction, Granite Falls achieved a 26 percent reduction; Kansas Ethanol Lyons achieved a 29.3 percent reduction, SME Carrollton achieved a 20.5 percent reduction, Valero Hartley achieved a 22.3 percent reduction, and WNYE Medina achieved a 20.8 percent reduction.

 The eight new plants join five facilities awarded Efficient Producer pathway approvals in March10 facilities that had pathways approved in February, and nine producers that were granted Efficient Producer pathways in December.