Federal government overlooks technical feasibility issues in accelerating national renewable diesel mandate

Proposed July 1, 2011 start date does not provide adequate lead time for trouble-free transition

OTTAWA, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - The Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI) is concerned the federal government has proposed an impractical start date for a mandatory national requirement that diesel fuel and home heating oil contain 2% renewable diesel (biodiesel) content.   The government has announced July 1, 2011 as the coming into force date for the renewable diesel requirement of the federal Renewable Fuels Regulations.   "CPPI and its member companies are committed to a successful implementation of the renewable diesel component of the federal Renewable Fuels Regulations," said Peter Boag, CPPI President. "But the proposed start date of July 1, 2011 overlooks important feasibility issues."

Biodiesel made from vegetable oils and animal fats is the only renewable diesel currently produced in Canada.  In colder temperatures it thickens and eventually solidifies, creating significant technical feasibility challenges during Canada's colder months.  Satisfactory resolution of technical feasibility was a key requirement of the federal government's original announced intention to implement a national 2% renewable diesel requirement by 2012.   

Work conducted under the federal government's National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiative (NRDDI) identified the need to resolve four key technical feasibility issues to ensure successful implementation: 

  • Fuel technology readiness
  • Technology/end-user application readiness
  • Infrastructure readiness
  • Market acceptance

CPPI and its members are concerned that the fuel storage, distribution and transportation infrastructure necessary to compensate for biodiesel's poor low temperature properties will not be in place in all regions of the country until well after July 1, 2011, and that the Canadian General Standards Board biodiesel standards development activity won't be complete until the end of 2011, at the earliest.   

The NRDDI final report acknowledged that in some regions of the country, especially where there are no existing provincial biodiesel  mandates, upgrades to infrastructure to "ensure that consumers are not affected by the transition to biodiesel blends" could take up to three years.  The NRDDI report further noted that "accelerating lead times in order to meet a mandated regulatory start date can lead to significantly increased costs and may not be possible in some cases".

"Our industry's greatest concern is its continued ability to reliably provide quality, fit for purpose fuels to all Canadians," said Boag.  "A July 1, 2011 start date does not provide fuel suppliers, the only obligated party under these regulations, the necessary lead time to ensure a seamless, trouble free national transition to renewable diesel blends".    

CPPI urges the government to reconsider its current timetable and has confirmed its willingness to work with all stakeholders to achieve a seamless and successful implementation of the renewable diesel mandate.   

SOURCE Canadian Petroleum Products Institute

For further information:

Peter Boag
613.232.3709 ext. 203

Bill Simpkins
Director Communications
(902) 465-7776

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