The Electric RFS:
A Remarkable Pair

​Millions of new jobs. Clean air. Clean water. And true energy independence.

the electric pathway

In 2005, Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard – managed by the EPA – to encourage the use of renewable biofuels in transportation.

Congress’ intent was to diversify our country’s energy portfolio, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and strengthen the economy of rural American communities through the production of domestic biofuels. To meet these goals, the RFS requires that gasoline and diesel refiners and importers of (“obligated parties”) blend renewable fuels, like ethanol, with the liquid fuels we use for transportation.

Alternatively, these obligated parties may also buy credits, called Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), that similarly show that a renewable fuel was blended with gasoline or used in place of it. RINs are created by a variety of parties like ethanol producers (corn and soy farmers) and are then sold on an open market to oil companies that need to meet the obligations set by EPA.

In 2007, Congress modified the RFS program with passage of The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).

The modifications expanded the RFS program to further incent innovation in the US energy technology market by providing a level playing field for competing renewable fuel technologies (both liquid and non-liquid). The goal of the changes made in EISA was to prioritize growth in the categories of renewable fuels that achieve the highest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to gasoline.

In 2014, EPA determined that electricity produced with biogas should qualify as an RFS renewable fuel if it is matched with electricity consumed by electric vehicles (EVs).

This part of the RFS is often called the “Electric Pathway” or the “e-RIN (electric-RIN) program” and was designed to provide incentives to simultaneously increase the production of electricity with biogas and the adoption of electric vehicles.

By matching and documenting a physical connection between electricity produced with biogas by independent power producers (IPPs, and electricity consumed by EVs, BTR generates e-RINs under the RFS program. The e-RINs can then be purchased and used by obligated parties to comply with RFS renewable volume obligations.


BTR’s work on the Electric Pathway has been instrumental to the construction of the program.
December 2007


As part of the Energy Independence and Security Act (“EISA”) and in an effort to bring more farmers and different types of energy into the RFS, Congress mandates that the EPA determine how renewable electricity used by electric vehicles might qualify as a renewable fuel and generate credits under the RFS.

May 2009


EPA reaffirms that EISA requires that all eligible transportation fuels, including electricity, be included in the RFS program, and that the EPA will conduct a study on how to generate RINs for renewable electricity used by electric vehicles.

January 2012


EPA announces that, though the Agency still has not implemented a pathway for electricity producers to generate RINs, “investigations are underway.” EPA indicated that it may be possible that one or more new pathways for electricity would be available for use in 2012.

December 2013


Jim and Mike Lemon start work on Biogas Researchers to find ways to accelerate the growth of the biogas industry, which produces domestic, base load electricity and supports thousands of jobs in rural economies across the United States. The RFS is identified as a promising opportunity, and BR’s work ultimately leads to the creation of BTR Energy.

July 2014


EPA establishes new fuel pathways for electricity produced from biogas and used in electric vehicles, and notes that “the approval of these new cellulosic pathways could have an impact” on EPA’s renewable volume obligations for cellulosic biofuels in 2014. This new pathway is often referred to as the “E-RIN” program.

March 2015


BTR begins a series of meetings with EPA and introduces the idea of using vehicle telematics to collect charging data. BTR also recommends that EPA correct the Equivalence Value assigned to RFS-qualified renewable electricity.

October 2015


After explorations with EPA and its initial partners, BTR formally submits an application to generate e-RINs with RFS-qualified renewable electricity produced using data from its partners in the EV and biogas industries.

November 2016


As an adjunct to its proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support (“REGS”) rule, “EPA seeks input on the approach to RIN generation for renewable electricity that would best further the goals of the RFS program, but does not propose a preferred approach.” EPA also requests comment on how to calculate the equivalence value and explicitly retains the legal authority to approve applications without further rulemaking, pending receipt of input from stakeholders.

August 2018


BTR will continue its work with the EPA and the Administration it serves to ensure that the electric pathway is implemented successfully and provides for new jobs across the United States in both the biogas-electricity and automotive industries.

How BTR works

We partner with businesses in the EV, landfill, and agricultural industries to measure and document biogas-based electricity usage across the U.S.

STEP 1: track renewable fuel

Determine the amount of electricity produced

Our partners in the biodigestion and landfill industries track and then report to BTR exactly how much biogas electricity their farms or portfolios of IPPs generate and sell to the commercial grids.

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Determine the amount of electricity consumed

BTR also works with EV manufacturers, charging station networks, electric utilities, and even fleet operators to measure and document exactly how much electricity is consumed by electric vehicles.

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STEP 2: Report to EPA

Together, the data-sets collected from our partners allow us to demonstrate that the amount of electricity generated was equivalent to the amount consumed and to ensure compliance with EPA standards.

STEP 3: pass Along the benefits

BTR can then generate and sell e-RINs and distribute the revenue back to its partners, providing new revenues that encourage biogas-electricity generation, EV adoption, and charging infrastructure investments. This new incentive is a boon for farmers across the country.


rural economic development

There are over 8,000 dairy and swine farms in the US that could support biodigesters, as well as 440 landfills that could develop electricity generation capabilities. These sites could employee as many as 18,000 Americans in rural economies across the country.

US ev-related jobs

The EV industry could add up to 1.9 million jobs in the United States by 2030. Unlike internal combustion engine vehicles, electric vehicles that are sold in the U.S. are largely manufactured here.

clean air

Air pollution caused by tailpipe emissions has real health consequences. According to the American Lung Association, “a complete turnover [to electric vehicles] would reduce health and economic costs by $13 billion in 2025, preventing hundreds of premature deaths and tens of thousands of work days lost to respiratory illness” in California alone. Accelerating our transition to electric vehicles could very well save lives. ​

waste management

Managing biowaste is a challenge in many parts of the country, particularly for dairy and poultry farmers. “Manure lagoons” form and as the manure decomposes, causing smells and dangerous runoff that can seep into the underground water systems that often provide the local community with tap and drinking water. Helping farmers deal with waste benefits everyone.