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Renewable Fuel Standard Program

How to Prepare an Efficient Producer Petition under the Renewable Fuel Standard Program

EPA developed the Efficient Producer petition process for corn starch and grain sorghum ethanol producers that demonstrate superior process efficiency through reduced onsite energy consumption, increased fuel output and/or use of biomass or biogas from certain sources to reduce process energy greenhouse gas emissions.  Petitions that seek EPA evaluation of new/creative fuel production technologies will require additional analysis, and therefore will not be able to use this expedited review process.

The steps in a successful Efficient Producer petition process are as follows:

  1. The petitioner reviews information about whether they can use the Efficient Producer petition process 
  2. The petitioner submits an Efficient Producer petition
  3. The EPA conducts an expedited petition review 
  4. The petitioner registers for their new pathway(s) 
  5. The petitioner documents their compliance with the new pathway and generates RINs 

1. The petitioner reviews information about whether they can use the Efficient Producer petition process

Efficient Producer petitions are currently limited to those involving pathways with the following production characteristics.

A. Production Process Characteristics

  • The pathway requested is for fuel produced through a dry mill ethanol production process using only corn starch and/or grain sorghum as feedstocks.1
  • The ethanol feedstocks used at the dry mill facility include only: corn starch, corn kernel fiber, other minor components of corn kernels, or grain sorghum kernels.
  • Produces distillers grains (or distiller grains and solubles) co-product that is intended for use as animal feed.
  • The facility uses one of the following, or a combination of any of the following, for all of its process energy:
    • electricity from the grid
    • natural gas
    • coal
    • certain types of biogas 
    • certain types of biomass
  • More detailed information: How to Prepare an Efficient Producer Petition Version 1.2 (PDF)(14 pp, 689 K, EPA-420-B-17-033, October 2017, About PDF)

Footnotes

1 The dry mill process is described in Section 1.4.1.1 ("Dry Milling Technology") of the February 2010 Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS2) Regulatory Impact Analysis (EPA-420-R-10-006).

B. Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas ("GHG") Emissions

  • To evaluate an Efficient Producer petition, EPA uses the emissions factors previously developed for the Agency's lifecycle GHG analyses for previous RFS rules.
  • The following Efficient Producer Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Calculator (GHG Calculator) spreadsheet tool is provided to help petitioners understand the Agency's lifecycle GHG calculations, and the emission factors developed for previous rules. Included below is version 1.1 of the GHG Calculator with instructions.

2. The petitioner submits an Efficient Producer petition

Pursuant to the regulations at 40 CFR 80.1416, petitions must include mass and energy balance data for the requested pathway. For Efficient Producer petitions, this would include average annual mass and energy balance data over the past year and/or as projected into the future, demonstrating how the requested fuel pathway will meet the applicable lifecycle GHG emissions reduction threshold (e.g., 20% GHG reduction for renewable fuel D-code 6 RINs). 

3. The EPA conducts an expedited petition review

A successful expedited review will include the following steps:

a. EPA staff reviews the petition and confirms that it includes all of the necessary information.

b. The facility-specific determination document is signed by the Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ).

c. The determination document is e-mailed to the petitioner and posted on the EPA's website.

d. EMTS is updated so that the petitioner can register for the new pathway(s).


4. The petitioner registers for their new pathway(s)

A successful registration process shall include the following steps:

a. The petitioner uses the OTAQREG system to provide all of the information required for registration pursuant to 40 CFR 80.1450, and all additional required information as specified in the signed pathway determination document.

b. The registration materials and accepted by EPA are the pathway is activated in EMTS.

5. The petitioner documents their compliance with the new pathway and generates RINs

a. The petitioner complies with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements specified in the signed pathway determination document that applies to their facility. This document would likely include a condition that when a fuel producer wishes to generate RINs for a batch of fuel using an approved Efficient Producer pathway, the producer would calculate the average lifecycle GHG emissions for the renewable fuel produced at the facility over the previous 365-days or the number of days since EPA activated the Efficient Producer pathway, whichever is less, and demonstrate that their fuel meets the applicable lifecycle GHG reduction threshold. The petition approval will likely provide that for RINs to be validly generated for a batch of fuel through the approved Efficient Producer pathway, the petitioner must have records demonstrating that their 365-day rolling average lifecycle GHG emissions meets the applicable GHG reduction threshold.

b. The petition approval will likely provide that for RINs to be validly generated for a batch of fuel through the approved Efficient Producer pathway, on the day that RINs are generated the petitioner must have records demonstrating that their 365-day rolling average lifecycle GHG emissions meets the applicable GHG reduction threshold.

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