4 ethanol plants added to EPA efficient producer list

By Susanne Retka Schill | October 08, 2015

Four more corn ethanol plants have been named efficient ethanol producers by the U.S. EPA. Three are Valero Renewable Fuels plants located at Bloomingburg, Ohio, Albion, Nebraska, and Linden, Indiana, all 120 MMgy facilities. The fourth producer named was Carbon Green Bioenergy LLC, a 50 MMgy plant at Lake Odessa, Michigan. 

The total number of corn ethanol plants achieving efficient producer status is now 45, plus one proposed corn ethanol plant. Valero now has seven of its 11 ethanol plants on the list. The plant in Albert City, Iowa, was named to the list one month earlier.

The efficient producer status allows these ethanol producers to generate renewable identification numbers (RINs) for ethanol production above the volume grandfathered in when the revised renewable fuels standard (RFS) was passed in 2007. 

Table 2 in the notification letters posted to the EPA’s website summarizes the plants’ lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, calculated by using the individual plants’ corn consumption, natural gas and electrical use and ethanol production.  Carbon Green’s lifecycle shows a 20.8 percent reduction in GHG emissions compared to the baseline gasoline. Valero’s Bloomingburg plant has a 25.0 percent reduction, Albion, 23.4 percent and Linden, 21.1 percent reduction. That compares with the industry average of 16.8 percent reduction for plants grandfathered in that was calculated by the agency when it first published the RFS rule in 2010. Any new plants or expanded production volumes must meet a minimum 20 percent GHG reduction when compared to the baseline. The EPA formula used to calculate GHG reduction includes estimated GHG emissions due to indirect land use change.

While efficient producers can expand production beyond the volume grandfathered in, they must document ongoing GHG reductions by collecting data on a daily basis that is used to calculate a rolling daily average GHG value using an EPA spreadsheet.