Canada publishes ethanol regulations, biodiesel requirements pending

By Erin Voegele
Posted Sept. 8, 2010

The Canadian government recently finalized regulations that will require gasoline to contain 5 percent renewable fuel content starting on Dec. 15. However, regulations relating to renewable content in diesel and heating oil are still pending.

According to information released by the Environment Canada, regulations requiring diesel heating oil to contain 2 percent renewable content will be enacted once the technical feasibility of the policy is demonstrated under a full range of Canadian conditions. Once this benchmark is reached, the 2 percent requirement for diesel would be amended to the country's Renewable Fuel Regulations.

The Renewable Fuel Regulations published on the Canadian government's website state that Natural Resources Canada is assessing the technical feasibility of the diesel and heating oil regulations through its National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiative. For the purposes of the NRDDI, the definition of renewable diesel includes biodiesel manufactured from renewable feedstocks.

According to Natural Resources Canada, NRDDI aims to address questions raised by industry and consumers regarding the integration of renewable diesel into fuel distribution networks. The objective of the program is to demonstrate how renewable diesel will perform in this capacity under Canadian conditions. Specifically, the program is working to address the impacts of cold weather and long-term storage. The initiative will also address how renewable diesel impacts seasonal variations of ultra-low sulfur diesel, the impacts on 2007 and 2010 emissions controls in heavy-duty truck engines, the effects on engine and heating system components, and the impacts on distribution infrastructure. To complete the project, the NRDDI has been providing funding to approved projects that address these issues.

While Canada's Renewable Fuel Regulations do not yet require diesel to contain 2 percent renewable content, several comments submitted by the public regarding biodiesel use were addressed in the final regulations that were published on Sept. 1. According to the regulations, some stakeholders have suggested that biodiesel be limited to a 5 percent inclusion rate in diesel, and that seasonal and geographical restrictions should be placed on the use of biodiesel blended fuels. According to Environment Canada the regulation is intended to increase the use of renewable fuels. As such, the suggestion to limit blends higher than B5 has been rejected. However, fuels containing more than 5 percent biodiesel will be considered "high-renewable-content fuel." In addition, Environment Canada noted that seasonal and geographical restrictions and controls on blending are best dealt with by the industries involved in those practices, and that no changes were made to the regulation in this regard.
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