The Importance of Data Integrity in RIN Reporting
If you are in the RNG supply chain, you know the importance of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs.) They are the currency of the industry, and optimizing an RNG site through expertise and technology can help companies that produce and trade in RNG get the most value from their RIN reporting.
One important way to do this is through site controls consistency, supported by talented software engineers who are very familiar with the RNG process, and who have a passion for precision and accuracy.
“It’s important to understand that the integrity of the data collected throughout the RNG for fuel process is critical,” says Brad Schmoll, CMD Alternative Energy Solutions Business Development Manager.
So, for example, if a vendor of one piece of equipment along the process brings in canned software that measures in EU units, and another vendor’s software measures another way, the data is mixed or difficult to use.
Data integrity is necessary for various government reporting programs, like the RFS/RIN program and the California low carbon fuel standards (LDFS) program.
“I have become somewhat of an RNG process subject matter expert,” admits Mitchell Hein, CMD Electrical Engineer and the chief programmer for CMD Alternative Energy Solutions. “Just like the gas must be clean at the end of the process, the data must be clean to prove the gas’ quality and its origin, in order to get paid the RIN credits.”
He notes that there are many scenarios where data can be incorrect, including:
- Supplier tells compliance agency that 1000 lbs of gas was injected into the pipeline, but the agency says they only measured 750 lbs – which is all they will be paid for unless they have data to prove they put in the 1000 lbs.
- The supplier’s data does not prove that the gas has met quality standards
- The supplier put gas in the pipeline, but the data was not properly captured
- Failure to verify transfer of custody of the gas –EG: Gas is put in a trailer at Farm A and then travels for more gas at Farm B before heading to the inject it into the pipeline together – accurate data is needed to verify where all the gas came from and who gets paid.
CMD has developed a skillset unique in the RNG industry; total site controls management. This approach ensures data integrity through single-source responsibility and offers distinct advantages:
- A technology-driven company, CMD has expertise in motion-controls programming combined with RNG industry knowledge and expertise to tie it all together.
- CMD’s site control programming will track the quality of the gas through various points, and at any given time, can prove with that data, exactly what is in the gas. “We confirm that all data collection points are accurate,” says Hein.
- CMD provides the resulting data in a useable way. “We do not just say, ‘here is the data, now go figure out how to use it for reporting,’ says Hein. “We provide the precise information in a practical format to ensure acceptance and full RIN credits.”
- Fewer vendor voices in the process of data collection reduces confusion and errors and results in a more cohesive project.
- CMD has developed an easy-to-implement tracking system to manage the transfer of custody for any RNG gas project.
“The transfer of custody element of the RNG process has been cumbersome for some suppliers,” notes Schmoll. “With our tracking system, our customers can drop their trailer at any decanting hose, rather than being directed that a specific trailer must go to a specific hose.”
As an OEM in the RNG industry, CMD strives to offer something unique to customers; dedication, technology and thorough support.
Schmoll adds, “We are the right-sized company with the right experience and technical skill set, which means that we send a programmer on-site to customize the solution and provide follow-up support remotely at all times.”
|What is a RIN?
Renewable Identification Numbers (RIN) are the credits that the EPA uses to track and enforce compliance with the renewable fuels mandates set by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.
RINs are essentially records of individual batches of renewable fuel being blended into the US gasoline and diesel pools. RINs are created when a batch of renewable fuel is made.
For more information, contact Brad Schmoll, Business Development Manager, CMD Alternative Energy Solutions [email protected]
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