EPA approves efficient producer pathway for South Dakota plant

By Erin Voegele | February 20, 2019

The U.S. EPA has approved an efficient producer pathway for Poet Biorefining – Groton, allowing the facility to generate renewable identification numbers (RINs) for non-grandfathered volumes of ethanol.

Ethanol plants that have approved efficient producer pathways are able to generate RINs for production volumes above those grandfathered under current RFS regulations. When the 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.

The pathway approval documents published by EPA indicates non-grandfathered corn starch ethanol produced at the Proton plant qualifies to generate D6 renewable biofuel RINs “assuming the fuel meets the conditions and associated regulatory provisions” discussed within the approval document “and the other definitional criteria for renewable fuel…specified in the [Clean Air Act] and EPA implementing regulations.”

According to the EPA, Poet submitted an efficient producer petition to the EPA in October 2018. The agency published the approval notice less than four months later, in February 2019.

Poet Biorefinery – Groton is a 60 MMgy facility located in Groton, South Dakota. Information published by Poet indicates the facility is the 16th ethanol plant built by Poet Design and Construction and the 10th plant to be managed by Poet.

A full copy of the EPA’s approval notice can be downloaded from the agency’s website.