EPA names 9 efficient ethanol producers, bringing total to 40

By Susanne Retka Schill | July 09, 2015

Nine more ethanol plants have achieved the U.S. EPA’s efficient producer status, bringing the total to 40. The agency posted the newly completed pathway assessments on its website in early July.

The efficient ethanol producers have successfully petitioned the EPA to recognize their ethanol yields and energy efficiencies are resulting in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are at least 20 percent less than the baseline gasoline value set in the renewable fuel standard (RFS). The designation allows the ethanol producers to generate renewable identification numbers (RINS) on additional gallons above the volume that was grandfathered in under the RFS, as long as they can document ongoing GHG reductions. Plants are required to collect data on a daily basis showing the bushels of feedstock ground, the consumption of electricity and natural gas and the gallons of ethanol produced. The data is used to calculate a rolling daily average GHG value using an EPA spreadsheet.

The nine new entrants to the efficient producers club include two Valero Renewable Energy plants. Valero’s 120 MMgy plant at Charles City, Iowa, has achieved a GHG reduction of 26.7 percent, according to the EPA’s approval letter, and its

120 MMgy Aurora, South Dakota, plant achieves a 22.1 percent GHG reduction.

Other corn ethanol plants on the list include One Earth Energy LLC’s  115 MMgy plant at Gibson City, Illinois, achieving a 21.8 percent GHG reduction; Iroquois Bio-Energy Co. LLC, Rensselaer, Indiana, 40 MMgy, 21.4 percent GHG reduction; and Adkins Energy LLC, Lena, Illinois, 50 MMgy, 23.6 percent GHG reduction.

Three other plants on the most recent list use both corn and grain sorghum for ethanol production. The modeling for the GHG reduction was done for corn only, but their letters state they can report the amounts of corn and sorghum consumed. They include East Kansas Agri-Energy LLC, Garnett, Kansas, 43 MMgy, 27.2 percent GHG reduction; Nugen Energy, Marion, South Dakota, 115 MMgy, 20.9 percent GHG reduction; and, Poet Biorefining Laddonia, Laddonia, Missouri, 50 MMgy, 28.2 percent GHG reduction.  

The last of the nine approved in late June is Ring-Neck Energy & Feed LLC, a proposed 70 MMgy plant at Onida, South Dakota, 23.0 percent GHG reduction. Getting the EPA letter puts the proposed project one step closer to realization.

The 40 plants achieving efficient ethanol producer status have been named in four batches. The first nine were announced in December, the next 10 in late January another five in March and eight in late May.

For an in-depth article describing the EPA’s efficient producer petition process, read “Efficient Producers Up the Ante.”