CRFA unveils Canadian industry report card

By Kris Bevill | November 17, 2010
Posted Dec. 1, 2010

The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association released an industry report card during its 7th annual Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit, held Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Gatineau, Quebec, highlighting the nation's recent successes and offering an outlook for biofuels progress in Canada. The report, titled "Growing Beyond Oil - Delivering Our Energy Future," was released to conference attendees, industry stakeholders and Canadian government officials, and is the first comprehensive review of Canada's biofuels industry, according to the CRFA.

The recently passed federal renewable fuel standard topped the CRFA's list of industry accomplishments. The standard established a national E5 mandate, which is set to go into effect on Dec. 15, as well as a B2 mandate, which is yet to be finalized. CRFA President Gordon Quaiattini told the approximate 300 industry professionals attending the conference that the RFS will ensure a market for Canadian biofuels and provide certainty to investors. "The RFS is the cornerstone upon which our industry is built," he said. "I want to thank the government for keeping its word and delivering this essential commitment."

He also urged government officials, however, to proceed with finalizing the biodiesel portion of the RFS and said this issue remains to be the CRFA's largest priority. "I believe the government understands the importance of this matter," he said. "I believe our successes to date have convinced them that just as we have delivered on ethanol, we can-and we shall-deliver on biodiesel." The CRFA has suggested a B2 mandate start date of April 1, 2011. A lengthier delay would almost certainly prevent the build-out of additional biodiesel capacity and could also result in the loss of existing capacity, according to the industry report.

The industry report card spotlighted recent economic contributions that can be attributed to Canada's biofuels industries, including:

- $2.3 billion in the investment of new production facilities over the past five years, representing approximately 528 million gallons of annual production capacity

- $3 billion of economic activity as a result of biofuels facility construction

- The creation of more than 14,000 new direct and indirect jobs via the construction of new production facilities and more than 1,000 permanent manufacturing jobs

Other challenges facing the Canadian renewable fuels industry will include the build-out of additional capacity and the accelerating the development of advanced biofuels. Quaiattini told conference attendees that advanced biofuels will continue to be a core focus of the CRFA, and advancing their development will be achieved partially by also expanding support for first-generation biofuels. "Because we know as an industry that it is our leadership in advancing first-generation biofuels that permits the next generation of advanced biofuels to arise," he added.

The CRFA's long-term goals include expanding the RFS to include higher mandates for conventional biofuels and additional categories for advanced biofuels, to work with the government to create an interdepartmental working group on advanced biofuels to address the emerging industry, and to restore funding to the Sustainable Development Technology Tech Fund. The CRFA would also like to improve the SDTC NextGen Fund to better provide support for the commercialization of advanced biofuels technologies.

"We have work to do as an industry," Quaiattini said. "We have tasks yet to complete. But there can be no serious doubt that we have met and exceeded every test asked of us by government. Growing beyond oil isn't a promise. It is not an aspiration. It is a statement of fact and a description of what we've done to date. When we look to the future and incredible promise of advanced biofuels, we know that our best days are those yet to come."

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