Researchers successfully test B2, B5 use in Alberta

By Ryan C. Christiansen | February 10, 2009
Web exclusive posted Feb. 11, 2009, at 10:21 a.m. CST

The Alberta Renewable Diesel Demonstration has published its final report detailing a 10-month study that gauged the operability of biodiesel blends under various climatic conditions. According to the ARDD, the study confirmed the operability of B2 in cold-weather conditions and B5 in moderate- to warm-weather conditions. In addition, the ARDD study showed it's possible to create, dispense, and use B2 and B5 in Canada's cold climates using the existing distribution and commercial infrastructure.

In December 2006, Canada published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to regulate a renewable fuel standard (RFS) mandating the use of renewable fuels in Canada. The NOl stipulated that implementation of the renewable diesel component of the RFS was contingent on successfully demonstrating the use of renewable diesel under a range of Canadian conditions. The results of the ARDD study will be used as documentation responding to the NOI, the ARDD said.

According to the ARDD, Alberta was selected for the study primarily because it represents some of the harsher climates in Canada. During the study, the participating vehicles endured two consecutive nights when the overnight low temperatures fell below minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit) in late January. However, no loss of service events was reported.

The ARDD study, which tested biodiesel blends in the laboratory and in real-world over-the-road use by Alberta trucking fleets, was conducted from December 2007 through September 2008. Both fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) biodiesel and hydrogenated-derived renewable diesel (HDRD) biodiesel blends were tested. According to the U.S. DOE, HDRD is produced through the hydrogenation of triglycerides in fats or vegetable oils using conventional oil refinery equipment.

During the study, a fleet of 29 vehicles used FAME blends and 30 used HDRD blends. A control group of 16 vehicles used unblended ultra low sulfur petroleum diesel fuel for comparison. The vehicles included Class 8 transport trucks with and without exhaust after-treatment technologies, school buses, delivery trucks, and a group of heavy-duty oilfield service vehicles. All participating vehicles were 2002 model year or later.

The 29 vehicles using FAME blends used canola methyl ester (CME) biodiesel blended exclusively during the winter months from Dec. 16, 2007, through April 15, 2008. Those same vehicles used 75 percent CME and 25 percent tallow methyl ester (TME) mixed biodiesel blended during the spring and summer months from April 16, 2008 through Sept. 30, 2008.

More than 1.6 million liters (423,000 gallons) of blended fuel were tested, including 245,000 liters (65,000 gallons) of B2 FAME; 400,000 liters (106,000 gallons) of 2 percent HDRD; 540,000 liters (143,000 gallons) of B5 FAME; and 425,000 liters (112,000 gallons) of 5 percent HDRD.
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