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Alberta hosts renewable diesel, biodiesel demonstration

By Jessica Ebert | March 17, 2008
Climate Change Central, an Alberta public-private, nonprofit organization that facilitates collaborative projects among government, industry and consumer groups, recently announced the launch of the country's largest cold-weather, on-road demonstration of renewable diesel and biodiesel.

The Alberta Renewable Diesel Demonstration is a response to the federal government's announcement of plans to implement a renewable fuels standard requiring diesel fuel to contain a 2 percent renewable blend by 2012. The standard is dependent on the successful demonstration of renewable diesel and biodiesel use under a range of Canadian conditions.

To that end, Climate Change Central partnered with Shell Canada, the Canola Council of Canada, the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association and Canadian Bioenergy Corp., and gathered samples of renewable diesel and biodiesel from a cross section of producers. The samples were tested at the Alberta Research Center using a suite of ASTM International and Canadian General Standards Board quality tests, as well as some additional cold-weather performance parameters, explained Adam Gagnon, program manager of transportation and energy efficiency at Climate Change Central. From the results of these tests, Neste Oil Corp. was chosen to supply renewable diesel for the demonstration, while Milligan Biotech, a biodiesel producer based in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, was chosen to provide biodiesel.

Climate Change Central built a pulse-injection blending facility at Shell Canada's Sherwood Terminal in Edmonton, Alberta, and set up distribution points at three Flying J stations and one of the participating fleet yards. Four to five fleets are now on board, accounting for a group of 60 to 70 trucks in a range of sizes and applications from school buses to long-haul commercial carriers, Gagnon said. The demonstration started in late 2007 and will run through October. The two fuels will be monitored in parallel for volume consumed, distance traveled, and the frequency of fuel filter and oil filter changes. "This is basically a demonstration to prove the operability across the cold-weather months," Gagnon explained. "Things are going very well. We've had some pretty serious weather here over the past couple of weeks but have had no operational difficulties."
 

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