Canadian RFS opens doors for new markets

By Bryan Sims | August 08, 2008
On June 26, the Canadian Senate passed Bill C-33, which requires Canada to include 5 percent renewable content in gasoline by 2010 and 2 percent renewable content in diesel fuel by 2012.

In the wake of the landmark biofuels bill, Canada's biodiesel industry is now embarking on a new era to produce sufficient volumes of the renewable fuel that's expected to expand a nascent marketplace, according to Canadian Renewable Fuels Association President Gordon Quaiattini. "We're quite excited about the fact that we now have a national standard that will be brought into effect," he said. "Pursuing larger targets in the future becomes that much easier now that we have a legislative mandate and a framework in place."

There are currently six biodiesel plants operating throughout Canada with a combined production capacity of 101 MMly (26.7 MMgy), according to data compiled by BBI International Inc. According to CRFA spokesman Robin Speer, approximately 600 MMly (159 MMgy) of biodiesel will be needed to meet the standard. Combined with the demand for ethanol, the CRFA expects the creation of 10 new biofuels facilities to meet this requirement. "[The federal biodiesel mandate] creates a new market for Canadian farmers, as well as for those who primarily grow canola, the main feedstock used for our biodiesel production," Speer said. "About 80 percent of the canola in Canada is exported, so this provides a new market for them to do some value-added processing at home, to create jobs, and to revitalize rural communities while producing a cleaner-burning fuel and giving consumers a choice."

Quaiattini added that provincial biofuel mandates could be enacted in addition to the federal standard. Currently, British Columbia is the only province with a biodiesel mandate (B5 by 2012). "What's important about the national mandate, of course, is that we're going to create over time a national footprint for biofuels use versus a patchwork of provincial standards that create pools of boutique fuel, which doesn't make it easily transportable and movable around the country," he said.

In what seems like perfect timing, Regina, Saskatchewan-based Canadian Green Fuels Inc. will be breaking ground on a 50 MMgy biodiesel facility in McLean, Saskatchewan, this summer. The plant is expected to be fully operational by June 2009 and have the capacity to crush 1,200 metric tons per day of any oilseed, including canola and soybeans.

In addition, Calgary, Alberta-based CR Fuels Inc. has obtained all of its key permits for the development of an integrated biofuels complex in Strathmore, Alberta, where it plans to build a 30 MMgy biodiesel plant and 25 MMgy ethanol plant on the same site. Construction is scheduled to begin in March 2009, according to CR Fuels President and Chief Executive Officer Gordon Hart. "Even if there wasn't a mandate, there should be a desire for [renewable fuels] because of our limited carbon footprint and the way we've put this package together, although the national mandate definitely helps," he said.
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