Canada Building First Canola Biodiesel Plant

John Davis

canadianbioenergy.gifGround has broken on a 50-million-gallon-a-year canola biodiesel refinery northeast of Edmonton, Alberta… the first large-scale canola biodiesel plant in Canada.

This story on Canadian Press says the Canadian Bioenergy refinery will be built next door to a canola crushing facility… on the province’s refining and pipeline hub:

“We are building a state-of-the-art facility capable of producing a large quantity of clean, sustainable canola-based biodiesel to help meet the Canadian renewable fuel standard and U.S. demand for a superior cold weather, high-quality fuel,” said Canadian Bioenergy president Doug Hooper.

The plant fits in well with recent moves by Ottawa to financially encourage development of renewable fuels. But it also steps boldly into the ongoing debate over whether biofuels are better for the environment.

Scheduled to begin production by the middle of 2009, the plant will have an expected future capacity of 225 million litres of biodiesel per year. It will also be a key component to feeding Canada’s escalating demand for the fuel as new federal regulations call for two per cent renewable content in all diesel by 2012 – requiring about 800 million litres annually.

Officials estimate that about one million tonnes of canola will be needed to meet that two per cent biodiesel commitment.