Manitoba Opens First Biodiesel Plant

John Davis

greenwaybiodieselAn American biodiesel maker has headed north of the border, but its product will come back to the U.S.

This story from the Winnipeg Free Press says North Carolina-based Greenway Biodiesel is opening a approximately 5 million-gallon-a-year refinery in St. Boniface, Manitoba… the first for the Canadian province. While the green fuel will be headed for sale in Minnesota, it will actually trigger a biodiesel mandate in Manitoba:

Its owner, Royce Rostecki, says that as things stand now, he won’t produce a single litre for the local market — he will sell all his production from the new St. Boniface plant to Minnesota, where his U.S. customers receive a $1-per-gallon blending subsidy.

“If we were on a level playing field, we would be winning the race (to produce for the local market), but because everyone else is getting subsidized, it has put Manitoba producers at an insurmountable disadvantage,” Rostecki said in an interview.

Greenway Bio-diesel is capable of producing 20 million litres of product a year — fulfilling a legislative prerequisite for the implementation of a biodiesel mandate in Manitoba.

During the last provincial election, Premier Gary Doer promised a five per cent biodiesel mandate for 2010 that would create demand for 40 million litres of the biofuel, which would be blended with petroleum diesel. But government officials have since indicated that the province intends to introduce some level of mandated use before the end of 2009.

Canadian officials say they are working on legislation that will make Canadian biodiesel more competitive.