Canada to introduce biodiesel mandate by 2012
Feb 12, 2009 1:22 PM
The Canadian government has announced that it will introduce a national on-road biodiesel mandate not before 2010, but no later than 2012, according to information from the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA).
The mandate was predicated upon a commitment that all practical and technical issues involving the interaction, compatibility, availability and distribution of biodiesel at the prescribed average biofuel content (2 percent or B2) with heavy trucks would be addressed prior to the introduction of the mandate.
CTA said a key component of this effort was the just concluded Alberta Renewable Diesel Demonstration (ARDD). Designed with a two-phased approach, the ARDD involved laboratory testing followed by on-road long-haul fleet use, which included operation of 2007 emissions compliant engines running on Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) 3.520 specification biodiesel blends. The field trial was confined to Alberta, Canada, long-haul fleets, as the Alberta climate poses some of the most extreme challenges to biodiesel use.
Both the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI) and CTA supported and participated in the ARDD.
CTA said it learned several things from the demonstration, including:
•The results indicate that B2 blends that meet the CGSB standards should work in a variety of climate conditions unique to Canada.
•Biodiesel, while maintained at the appropriate temperature (15-degree C above its cloud point, in the case of FAME [canola based fatty acid methyl ester], 5-degree C above its cloud point for HDRD [hydrogenation derived renewable diesel]) can be handled safely within specially designed facilities such as rail tankcars and tanker trucks that are specially equipped with heat exchangers or steam coil heaters, heated off-loading facilities and storage tanks; and, specialized blending and filtering systems.
•The ARDD concludes that blends of biodiesel that meet the CGSB 3.520, including the correction for cloud schedule, can be used in heavy-duty vehicles at 2 percent level (B2) in winter, and up to 5 percent (B5) the rest of the year.
At the same time, CTA said transitioning from this successful small-scale demonstration project to full commercial implementation on a national basis presents significant additional challenges. For CPPI and CTA and their respective members, there are additional questions that need to be addressed before renewable diesel mandates can be successfully implemented in Canada.
CPPI and other stakeholders are working on an additional pilot project focusing on the safe handling and storage of biodiesel. "The results of this work will helpful in deciding how best to address a number of outstanding issues such as longer term impact of temperature cycling on biofuel storage, and thermal and oxidative stability, for a broader range of biodiesel types and blend levels," CTA said.
Model year 2010 Class 8 truck engines will feature a new emission control technology that will utilize urea. At present, it is not clear how biodiesel will interact with this new technology. CTA believes another round of tests involving 2010 model year truck engines is warranted to determine if there are any potential issues involving the use of biodiesel and urea on the performance of the new emission control systems. These tests must also include blends from B2 to B5, or higher during all seasonal conditions.
For the CTA, testing on 2010 models must address the requirement to ensure that all participants fully understand the importance of providing fuel that meets CGSB standards. Fleets must be allowed to select their own fuel suppliers and manage the process as they would on a day-to-day basis. These tests must also take place across Canada in the various regions to determine sourcing and quality issues, CTA said.
Before any regulation is finalized, CTA must have assurances that all involved have understood and addressed issues associated with storage, blending and transportation of biodiesel under a variety of real-world conditions.
"For CPPI members, timing is important to ensure compliance with the law," CTA said. "The ARDD identified some of the key conditions and facilities required for the successful introduction of biodiesel. Fuel providers need sufficient lead time to allow necessary investments and changes to the distribution and refining infrastructure."
The implications for new supplies of ultra low sulfur kerosene (ULSK) illustrate just one of these requirements: In order to meet quality standards for biodiesel blends, a significant amount of seasonal diesel was substituted by ULSK, in proportions that could range up to 43 percent, to correct the cold flow property for canola-based FAME biodiesel, CTA said.
This proportion varies depending on the type of biodiesel used. The ARDD showed that the use of HRRD needed only 1/3 of the ULSK volume to achieve the same cold flow property.
New supply of ultra low sulfur kerosene/jet needs to be developed to accommodate the introduction of biodiesel into the Canadian market. This will require significant facility investments to increase import capability and/or up-grade refineries, all needing sufficient time to design, develop and construct, CTA said.
The alliance noted that Canadian refining is currently just completing the last two phases of transportation diesel desulphurization (ULSD for off-road use required by mid 2010 and for marine-rail use by 2012). The superimposition of kerosene desulphurization to satisfy a renewable fuels policy is significant, and sufficient time is required to adjust, plan and implement, once the final regulations are proclaimed, CTA added.
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