EPA approves efficient producer pathway for Shelbyville plant

By Erin Voegele | July 16, 2020

The U.S. EPA has approved an efficient producer pathway under the Renewable Fuel Standard for Poet Biorefining – Shelbyville, an 80 MMgy corn ethanol plant under construction in Shelbyville, Indiana.

Ethanol plants that have approved efficient producer pathways are able to generate RINs for production volumes above those grandfathered under current RFS regulations. To qualify for compliance with the RFS program, any new production above the gallons grandfathered by EPA regulations 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 new or expanded production above those grandfathered volumes.

The Shelbyville plant is a newly constructed facility. Poet announced in July 2018 that it had received an approval from the Shelbyville, Indiana, planning commission that would allow it to proceed with development of the plant approximately 5 miles northwest of the city. The company announced that construction had begun on the project a few months later, in October 2018. The expected completion date for the plant was spring 2020. Startup of the plant, however, has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Poet announced on April 7 that it would idle three ethanol plants and delay start-up of the new Shelbyville facility due to market impacts caused by COVID-19.

In its pathway approval document, the EPA said that ethanol produced at the Shelbyville plant will achieve a 25.8 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when compared to baseline gasoline. A typical natural gas-fired, dry mill ethanol plant that produces 100 percent dry distillers grains produces fuel that achieves a 16.8 percent reduction.

A full copy of the pathway approval document can be downloaded from the EPA website.