Talking Point

By Christine Paquette | October 01, 2004
Biodiesel has been used internationally as an alternative transportation fuel for many years, but the international biodiesel industry-and, to some extent, Canadian citizens-know relatively little about biodiesel activities in Canada. It's time for that to change.

In 2003, a core group of key stakeholders in Canada identified the need to have national representation for biodiesel. In December 2003, the Biodiesel Association of Canada (BAC) was formed. BAC is a not-for-profit organization represented by Canadian canola growers (comprised of the Manitoba Canola Growers Association, the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission and the Saskatchewan Canola Growers Association), Canadian oilseed processors (Archer Daniels Midland, CanAmera Foods-Bunge and Cargill), renderers (Rothsay, West Coast Reduction, Sanimal Inc.), Ontario soybean growers and biodiesel producers (present and future).

In June, I joined the association as its executive director.
The BAC sees its role as the authoritative center of information on all significant aspects of biodiesel in Canada. Its mandate-and my job-is to promote the development of the biodiesel industry in Canada through efforts to influence government policy and legislation, to educate and create consumer awareness and acceptance, and to contribute to the creation of common trade standards and product technical specifications.

he BAC has created an important industry and government stakeholder technical committee to help identify research gaps and areas that need to be studied from a Canadian perspective. The BAC is also committed to research with its sister organization, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), to address North American biodiesel research gaps.

Over the 10 years biodiesel has been researched at various education institutions across the country. From the University of British Columbia, to the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Toronto and Dalhousie University, research in the areas of production, lubricity, engine wear and fuel economy has taken place. Dr. David Boocock's research has lead to the formation of BIOX Corporation. BIOX has received two levels of federal funding, and the corporation has announced a plan to build a 60 million liter (15.85 million gallons) biodiesel plant in Hamilton, Ontario, in the spring of 2005.

The federal government in Canada has shown its commitment to biodiesel in three ways. In its Climate Change for Canada document targeted 500 million liters (132.1 million gallons) of production by 2010. In early 2003, the federal government announced a CAN$0.04 exemption for biodiesel. Finally, in the fall of 2003, the federal government announced a CAN$11.9 million commitment to biodiesel initiatives over four years. These funds are supporting biodiesel demonstration projects in various areas: applications, blend ratios, regions and temperatures.

Two provincial governments (Ontario in 2002 and British Columbia in 2004) have shown their support for biodiesel by waiving their road tax for the biodiesel portion of the blend. Both Saskatchewan and Manitoba have provincial/stakeholder working groups looking at biodiesel policy issues and fostering environments for biodiesel use and commercialization.

Industry and municipalities have been the leaders in Canada in raising awareness and creating demand for biodiesel use. Approximately 4 million liters (1.1 million gallons) of biodiesel is being used in Canada with that number likely to increase significantly over the next year. Production in Canada barely meets our needs. Rothsay has been producing biodiesel since 2002. It supplied the biodiesel for the Montreal transit demonstration project and continues to use biodiesel in its own fleet. Milligan Bio-Tech Inc. produces biodiesel for use in its diesel additive, while also supplying canola-based biodiesel to various projects.

AC is supportive and excited about the growing biodiesel industry in Canada. We are working with stakeholders from across the nation, the United States and internationally to raise awareness, and share information and advice on policy issues that support the development of the commercialization and increased use of biodiesel in Canada.

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