Canadian task force releases report on biodiesel

By | August 01, 2006
In June, the Saskatchewan Biodiesel Development Task Force presented a report and recommendations for advancing the province's biodiesel industry to provincial lawmakers. The task force met with stakeholders to look at challenges and opportunities facing the biodiesel industry in order to compile it, according to a press release.

"We're pretty excited by the work that the task force has done," said Jacquie Gibney, assistant deputy minister of Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food. "I think it will provide a pretty solid foundation for the biodiesel industry for Saskatchewan."

The report contained a total of 10 recommendations for the Saskatchewan government. Those recommendations included:

-A Canadian renewable fuels strategy with a target of 2 percent by 2010 and 5 percent by 2015 specific to biodiesel
-The development of programs and policies to encourage consumption, production and technology development, as well as increasing public awareness
-Funding for research and testing on standards, and a program to help producers meet the standards
-Development of a national Bio-Products Center
-That all biodiesel sold in Canada meets standards and is certified
-Support for limited liability corporations to facilitate primary producers' investment
-The evaluation of options for a blending and distribution system

The report concluded that a national renewable fuels strategy and incentive programs were critical to allow biodiesel to "catch up" to ethanol. Standards and quality issues must also be a priority. "It will take the efforts of all the stakeholders-including industry, primary producers and all levels of government-to develop a harmonized, 'made-in-Canada' biodiesel," the report said. "Only then can Saskatchewan be assured of a long-term, sustainable biodiesel industry with opportunities for rural development."

Canada's federal government is talking about a renewable fuels standard of 5 percent by 2010. "We feel that is just a start, and that could move to 10 percent or even higher," Gibney said.

The task force's report takes the idea of a mandate or standard even further by recommending a specific standard for biodiesel. Currently, the federal government's renewable fuels standard combines ethanol and biodiesel, Gibney said.

The report focuses mostly on canola as a possible feedstock. Canada is a significant producer of grains and oilseeds, including canola, Gibney said. In addition, Saskatchewan has a large land base of 43 percent of the country's arable land to plant crops. "We're really sitting on a huge opportunity here," she said.

Barb Isman, president of the Canola Council of Canada, said the report was positive. She said recognition of the need for a mandate for biodiesel, separate from ethanol, was particularly important. The Canadian biodiesel industry is about five to six years behind ethanol, and biodiesel producers could find it difficult to break into the market.

The need for stringent quality standards for biodiesel was also a positive of the report. The Canola Council of Canada supports that, Isman said.

However, something that could have been made clearer in the report was the information on incentives. There is a need for Canadian incentives that are on the same level as U.S. incentives, she said.

To access a full copy of the report, check out www.agr.gov.sk.ca.
 
 
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