Quebec’s draft biofuel regulations ‘disappointing’ for biodiesel

By Ron Kotrba | October 11, 2019

The provincial government of Quebec released in early October a draft proposal of minimum volume requirements for biofuel in gasoline and diesel. The proposal estimates the minimum thresholds of 10 percent ethanol and 2 percent biomass-based diesel by 2021, and 15 percent ethanol and 4 percent biomass-based diesel by 2025.

While Jonatan Julien, minister of energy and natural resources, said he is confident the “ambitious” targets will result in growth and investment in Quebec’s renewable fuels sector, a 2 percent biodiesel standard in the province represents zero increase beyond the federal requirement that has been in place for 10 years.

“This was quite a disappointment,” Simon Doray, CEO of Innoltek Inc., told Biodiesel Magazine. Innoltek owns and operates a biodiesel production facility in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. “The ethanol targets are very aggressive, and it seems there was some trade-off there,” Doray said. “The provincial government is obsessed with capacity being able to supply demand. But if the demand is not there, then the capacity will not be built. For all intents and purposes, this will not create any additional market for biodiesel.”

Doray says 2 percent of Quebec’s diesel fuel market is roughly 80 MMly, which is approximately equal to the province’s biodiesel productive capacity. “If anything, the government could have gone more aggressive at 3 percent by 2021, and then to 5 percent by 2025,” Doray said. 

Innoltek’s registration process with U.S. EPA is nearly complete, which will allow the producer to export its biodiesel to the U.S. The company is particularly targeting Northeast markets in the short-term and California’s insatiable LCFS market in the long-term. Because the proposed regulations in Quebec are so “timid,” as Doray describes them, Innoltek is seeking market growth opportunities for its fuel outside of Quebec.

“We would like to have our options open in order to sell our fuel where the markets make the most sense,” he told Biodiesel Magazine. Innoltek’s facility in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu can ship product out directly by rail. Depending on the future status of the U.S. federal blenders tax credit, Doray said he is also targeting potential sales to Ontario.

The government of Quebec is accepting comments on the proposed regulations through mid-November.


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