Asthma Society of Canada says biodiesel a key to cleaner air

By The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association | June 11, 2014

An estimated 21,000 Canadians die from heart and lung diseases brought on by breathing polluted air every year. The Asthma Society of Canada and Canadian Renewable Fuels Association have joined forces to improve air quality with cleaner-burning fuels.

In Canada, asthma accounts for approximately 80 percent of chronic disease cases and continues to be a major cause of child hospitalization. Reducing smog and cutting vehicle emissions is critical to improving air quality and the health of all Canadians.

Biodiesel and renewable diesel cut hydrocarbon emissions by more than 95 percent when compared to petroleum diesel. Its use in conventional diesel engines substantially reduces emissions of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, sulfates and particulate matter.

Renewable diesel also reduces aromatic compounds—whichh are known carcinogens—by more than 75 percent and emissions of smog-forming particulate and carbon monoxide by 50 percent compared to traditional petroleum diesel.

Canada currently requires 2 percent renewable content in the national distillate pool but the time has come to facilitate higher level blends.

“Any regulation that reduces emissions produced by diesel-powered vehicles is good news for people with asthma, respiratory allergies and other lung illnesses,” said Asthma Society of Canada president and CEO Robert Oliphant. “There is a direct link between asthma exacerbations, hospital admissions, and untimely deaths and dirty fuels. Speeding up the process of blending more renewable biofuel would lead to a healthier Canada.”

Renewable diesel is produced from vegetable oils, animal fats, or waste grease and burns cleaner than petroleum diesel. In addition to making our air cleaner it also reduces harmful greenhouse gases by up to 99 percent compared to fossil fuels.

“The more biofuels we use in our fuel pool, the greater the environmental and health benefits will be,” said CRFA president W. Scott Thurlow. “Higher inclusion rates for renewable fuel products will make our air cleaner and help our communities breathe easier. At the same time, expanding renewable diesel use into other sectors, such as public transportation and rail, would help reduce smog and emissions in some of our most congested cities and communities.”

As part of its new vision and action plan, the CRFA supports increasing the federal renewable diesel mandate to ensure a 5 percent inclusion rate by 2020.

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