Canadian report cites biodiesel issues
Dec 2, 2008 1:26 PM
A report commissioned by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has identified potential issues relating to the storage, blending, and transportation of biodiesel in Canada, according to CTA information.
“It is essential that the issues identified in the report are dealt with prior to the implementation of a biodiesel mandate,” David Bradley, CTA chief executive officer said in a news release. “This will take extensive, multilateral planning with all stakeholders, including the customer which in this case is the trucking industry.”
Issues identified in the report include:
- Storage -- Because biodiesel is not compatible with certain materials, has high solvency rate and must be free from water, a dedicated storage tank system will have to be created in the various regions. These tanks will also have to be heated to prevent biodiesel gelling.
- Blending -- The choice of blending technique used to achieve a desired biodiesel blend has important implications with respect to product quality, particularly in cold weather. In-line blending at the terminal rack (into a tanker truck) is the best way of producing a biodiesel blend. However, most Canadian terminals are currently not likely to be equipped with such equipment
- Transportation -- In Western and Central Canada, pipelines are the principal method of transporting petroleum product. In Atlantic Canada marine is the main method of transportation. Biodiesel cannot be pipelined because of cross contamination concerns.
(Some facilities in the United States have demonstrated that pipeline transportation is possible.)
The CTA report argued that without pipeline transportation, a much greater reliance will be placed on insulated heated tanker trucks, rails cars, or marine tankers to move product normally moved by pipeline. Furthermore, tanks used to transport biodiesel will have to be either totally or partially dedicated to moving this product alone.
While the report suggests the fuel industry will be motivated to address these issues, recent experience such as diesel fuel shortages in Central Canada (2007) and more recently in Western Canada suggests the trucking industry needs more assurance, CTA said.
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