WASHINGTON, July 2, 2014— The EPA today issued a rule designed to maintain liquidity in the market for the renewable identification numbers, or RINs, established under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS.) A second rule was issued listing additional fuels that can qualify for RINs and certifying corn kernel fiber as a “crop residue.”

RINs are generated by renewable fuel producers and importers, representing volumes that meet the requirements for renewable fuel under the RFS program. They can be transferred between parties and used by petroleum refiners and importers to show compliance with their RFS volume obligations. EPA notes that cases of fraudulently generated RINs damage the RIN market, making it difficult for small renewable fuel producers to sell their RINs.

The EPA said the Quality Assurance Program provides a way to ensure RINs are properly generated through a voluntary third-party assessment.

“The program is designed and developed to enable smaller renewable fuel producers to demonstrate that their RINs are valid,” EPA said. “This should reduce the risk that some obligated parties believe is associated with such RINs.”

A second EPA rule certified additional fuels that could qualify for cellulosic or advanced biofuel RINs under the RFS program. They include compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and electricity used as transportation fuel produced from certain sources of biogas. The sources include landfills, municipal waste­-water treatment facility digesters and agricultural digesters.

The rule also specifies the number of cellulosic biofuel RINs that may be generated for fuel made from various cellulosic feedstocks, and provides guidance regarding the feedstocks that EPA considers to be crop residue, including clarification that corn kernel fiber is considered a crop residue.

“This action has the potential to provide notable volumes of cellulosic biofuel to the marketplace,” the EPA said.

The Renewable Fuels Association said it was pleased with the EPA’s action.

“This clarification effectively approves corn fiber as a qualifying feedstock for cellulosic biofuel,” RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen said in a statement.

Dinneen noted that the rule comes a day after Quad County Corn Processors began production of the first gallons of cellulosic ethanol from corn fiber in Galva, Iowa.

“This feedstock holds tremendous potential to contribute meaningful volumes toward compliance with the RFS cellulosic biofuels standard,” Dinneen said.

RFA pointed out that the technology that Quad County Corn Processors is using was developed under a $4.25 million investment from USDA and the Department of Energy as part of the Biomass Research and Development Initiative. Iowa Power Fund also provided a $1.45 million grant, RFA said.

Growth Energy, which represents ethanol producers, also applauded the EPA ruling.
"We are very pleased that EPA has approved long awaited pathways for ethanol from corn kernel fiber and other crop residues," Tom Buis, the group's CEO, said in a statement. "The RFS continues to be a resounding success and these pathways will continue to provide additional ways to meet the goals of the RFS moving forward and will give producers an important avenue to start producing commercial volumes of cellulosic ethanol.'


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This story was updated at 9:50 p.m. Eastern time on July 2.