Using more canola for biofuels would be a ‘win win’

Canola Council of Canada backs the federal government’s plan to boost the use of green fuels

Part of the federal government’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is drawing qualified praise from the Canola Council of Canada.

The organization says it “sees potential in the federal government’s proposed rules for the Clean Fuel Standard.”

The measure is intended to “reduce the carbon intensity of the fuels” and one of those ways is to increase use of biofuels, says the government. That could boost the use of canola, although the canola council said that will partly depend on how Ottawa calculates carbon intensity. But it also said the Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) could provide a major boost for canola growers.

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“We’re pleased to see the proposed CFS allow canola to be used for biofuel without a complex and costly on-farm regulatory burden, in line with U.S. biofuel regulations,” canola council president Jim Everson said in a release. “The CFS can create a strong domestic market for canola, reducing reliance on volatile global markets and at the same time contribute to improved air quality through greenhouse gas reduction.”

And the impact could be major.

“For example, modelling in the government’s proposed regulation estimates that the biofuel content in diesel could be 11 per cent in 2030 — up from the current two per cent national requirement,” the council’s release states. “At this level, the CFS could create a market the size of Japan for Canadian canola growers.

“In doing so, it would help diversify markets for the industry and reduce canola’s exposure and reliance on unpredictable markets.”

The initiative could also lead to more canola processing in Canada, it said.

However, the methodology used to calculate how green a fuel source is, is an area of concern as is the potential for red tape. The canola council said it appears the federal plan would not require audits or certification of feedstocks.

The government says the Clean Fuel Standard will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 20 million tonnes in 2030, which is the equivalent to taking five million cars off the road each year.

Using more canola as a biofuel can help achieve that, said Everson.

“Canola takes carbon from the air — lowering greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — and uses it to produce food and fuel,” said Everson. “Increased demand for canola while contributing to GHG emission reduction is a Canadian win win.”

In addition to cleaner fuels, the federal government wants the standard to, among other things, encourage use of electric cars and the further development of technologies such as carbon capture and hydrogen fuel cells.

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