Irish Innovation: Pioneering Ethanol Plant Set to Offer Carbon Removal Credits

"Red Trail Energy Partners with to Issue First-Ever CO2 Removal Credits in Voluntary Carbon Market"

Red Trail Energy (RTE), in partnership with, has revealed the issuance of carbon dioxide (CO2) removal credits on the Puro Registry. This announcement marks a significant achievement as the first ethanol production facility to generate CO2 Removal Certificates (CORCs) in the voluntary carbon market (VCM). The initiative also signifies the largest durable carbon removal project registered to date. RTE will be making its CORCs accessible through its marketing arm, RPMG.

Ethanol, a Corn-Based Revolution:
The majority of biofuel produced in the United States is ethanol, sourced from corn starch and commonly blended into gasoline. Approximately 98% of gasoline sold in the U.S. contains a 10% ethanol blend. In the early 2000s, energy policy initiatives aimed at enhancing energy independence led to a significant increase in domestic ethanol production. Between 2000 and 2018, U.S. corn ethanol output skyrocketed from 1.5 billion gallons to 16 billion gallons. Initial life cycle assessments (LCAs) indicated that U.S. corn ethanol would result in 20% lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to gasoline.

Recent studies commissioned by the Department of Energy (DOE), conducted by Argonne National Laboratory in 2021, unveiled that U.S. corn ethanol exhibits 44%–52% lower GHG emissions than gasoline. Gasoline typically has a carbon intensity of around 89.5 grams of CO2e per megajoule (MJ) of energy delivered. Argonne’s analysis showcased a 20% decrease in carbon emissions from U.S. corn ethanol between 2005 and 2019. This decline can be attributed to advancements in agricultural practices, including increased corn yields per acre, reduced fertilizer usage, and improvements in ethanol production processes.

Red Trail Energy’s Pioneering Carbon Capture Efforts:
RTE operates a corn ethanol production facility with an annual capacity of 64 million gallons. The CO2 produced during the ethanol fermentation process is captured and stored to prevent its release into the atmosphere. RTE’s facility is the first of its kind permitted under state regulations to capture and store CO2 in a Class VI well, capable of capturing and storing approximately 180,000 tons of CO2 annually. The captured biogenic CO2 is injected into an underground Class VI well located beneath the facility for permanent storage. RTE has continuously worked to reduce the fossil footprint associated with its primary product, biofuel, through energy efficiency measures and sustainable agricultural practices.

Red Trail Energy’s project was developed in collaboration with the clean energy advisory firm EcoEngineers and registered under the Puro Standard, the leading crediting platform for engineered carbon removal. The carbon removal credits are generated through bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) from ethanol production, adhering to Puro’s Geologically Stored Carbon Methodology. Prior to the issuance of CORCs, RTE underwent independent verification and met all requirements related to feedstock sustainability, carbon sequestration permanence, and financial additionality. The resulting carbon removal credits will be available as CORCs to support buyers in enhancing their emission reduction efforts towards achieving net zero targets.

Jodi Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Red Trail Energy, expressed pride in reaching this milestone, emphasizing the significance of being among the pioneering bioenergy facilities with BECCS and leading the provision of verified CDR credits to the market. Antti Vihavainen, Chief Executive Officer of, highlighted the importance of RTE’s CCS project, stating that it serves as a compelling demonstration of the infrastructure needed for large-scale carbon sequestration. With guidance from EcoEngineers and, RTE received over 150,000 CO2 Removal Certificates from the initial 14 months of operation of its BECCS project.

David LaGreca, Managing Director of VCM Services at EcoEngineers, stressed the significance of supporting high-quality removal programs in the context of global carbon budgets and the imperative to reduce emissions.’s CORCs demonstrate the durability of carbon sequestration for over 1,000 years, meeting essential environmental criteria for permanence. These CORCs are listed in the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA)-endorsed Puro Registry, ensuring high traceability and transparency throughout their lifecycle, from issuance to retirement. Sales of CORCs in voluntary markets play a crucial role in supporting the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects and mitigating financial risks associated with carbon removal initiatives.

The CORCs generated by RTE comply with rigorous scientific and market requirements, including criteria for additionality and permanence. These CORCs can complement other incentives aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Red Trail Energy’s collaboration with signifies a pivotal moment in ethanol production, leading the way in issuing carbon removal credits. By capturing and storing biogenic CO2 emissions, Red Trail Energy sets an example for sustainable practices, showcasing the essential role of innovative technologies in combating climate change.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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