Frequent Questions

Can ethanol produced from sugarcane molasses through a fermentation process in a mixed sugar/ethanol mill generate D-Code 5 RINs under the existing pathway in Table 1 to §80.1426 for ethanol produced from sugarcane through the fermentation process?

A: Yes, ethanol produced from sugarcane molasses through the fermentation process can generate D-Code 5 RINs under the RFS program. There are generally three types of sugarcane ethanol production mills: (1) Dedicated mills using all the sugarcane juice to produce ethanol; (2) Mixed sugar/molasses mills using the first juices for commercial sugar production and the remaining molasses for ethanol production; and (3) Purchased molasses mills, using purchased molasses from sugar production mills for ethanol production. There is a pathway in Table 1 to §80.1426 for the generation of D-Code 5 RINs for ethanol produced from sugarcane through the fermentation process. EPA interprets the term “sugarcane” in this pathway description in Table 1 to include non-finished intermediary products of sugarcane processing, such as molasses derived from sugarcane. Therefore, ethanol produced by fermentation from sugarcane in any of the three types of ethanol production mills, including mixed sugar/ethanol mills and purchased molasses mills, qualifies for the generation of D-code 5 RINs under this existing approved pathway. Although the lifecycle greenhouse gas modeling EPA conducted in support of the existing ethanol/sugarcane/fermentation pathway in Table 1 was specifically based on the lifecycle GHG performance of a dedicated mill, we have also determined that the ethanol produced from sugarcane molasses in both mixed sugar/molasses mills and purchased molasses mills has lifecycle GHG emission reductions of greater than 50% compared to the petroleum baseline. Therefore, EPA’s interpretation of the existing ethanol/sugarcane/fermentation pathway in Table 1 as including ethanol produced by fermentation from sugarcane molasses in a mixed sugar/molasses mill and in a purchased molasses mill is consistent with the GHG reduction requirements for advanced biofuel specified in the Clean Air Act.

Ethanol produced in any of the three types of sugarcane ethanol production mills must be made from renewable biomass, and the producer must satisfy all renewable biomass recordkeeping requirements in order for RINs to be generated for a batch of ethanol. Foreign renewable fuel producers or foreign ethanol producers selling their product to an importer for distribution in the United States must supply any RIN generating importer with the documentation required by 40 CFR § 80.1454(c). For purchased molasses mills, renewable biomass requirements and documentation applies to the specific batches of sugar cane that were processed to make the molasses used in producing the specific batches of fuel for which RINs are generated. If this documentation cannot be provided, the feedstock cannot meet the definition of renewable biomass and therefore RINs cannot be generated for ethanol made from it.

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