Canada Moves Forward with Biofuels Mandate

By Tina Caparella

After finalizing its renewable fuels regulation last September that requires an average renewable fuel content of five percent in gasoline beginning December 15, 2010, the Government of Canada is moving forward with the Renewable Fuels Strategy requirement for an average of two percent renewable content in diesel fuel and heating oil with an effective date of July 1, 2011. The first compliance period will run until December 31, 2012.

The announcement came after the government worked closely with industry partners to support several projects to demonstrate how renewable diesel fuel would perform under the range of Canadian conditions, which was assessed by Natural Resources Canada through the National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiative (NRDDI). In consultation with Environment Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Transport Canada, seven demonstration projects were delivered by stakeholders with funding assistance from NRDDI. In addition to demonstration projects, a study of the readiness of the Canadian petroleum distribution infrastructure was also conducted through the NRDDI.

The technical information and experience gathered through the projects lead to the conclusion that an average of two percent renewable content in diesel fuel is technically feasible. When fully implemented, the strategy’s two regulatory requirements combined with provincial regulations will ensure a total volume of renewable fuel that will reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions in Canada by up to four megatons – about the equivalent of taking one million vehicles off the road. Current provincial mandates include two percent renewable content in diesel fuel in Manitoba implemented in 2009, two percent in Alberta beginning April 2011, and a current three percent blend in British Columbia, which is slated to increase to four percent in 2011, and five percent in 2012.

Oil companies will be the obligated party, according to Gordon Quaiattini of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association. He said the mandate is a signal to investors who have a number of planned expansion projects in place now to move ahead, and will ensure the industry builds out the additional capacity required to meet the demand that will ramp up over the next 18 months. The two percent national mandate will require nearly 600 million liters (158.5 million gallons) of biodiesel annually. The Canadian biodiesel industry currently has 200 liters of capacity.

Grease Theft Arrests Making News

It is an increasingly frustrating problem for renderers and grease collectors: arriving to collect used cooking oil from a customer only to find the grease gone and the container damaged. While several states, including California, Colorado, and Virginia, have grease theft laws in place to try and curtail the problem, thefts continue and are on the rise, as news agencies from across the country are reporting.

In late February, police arrested a 28-year-old man from Tucker, GA, on charges that he stole $900 worth of used cooking oil from several Conyers, GA, restaurants. One victim told police that thieves would have to either cut three locks on the container or pry the container’s lid to bend it in order to siphon the oil out of the 2,200 pound container.

Also in late February in Georgia’s Barrow County, sheriff’s deputies caught a 30-year-old man and two young women (ages 19 and 25) behind a Winder, GA, restaurant siphoning off used cooking oil that didn’t belong to them. The trio was driving a truck equipped with a 2,000 gallon tank and an oil pump. Nearby Braselton, GA, police have also charged the same man and 19-year-old woman with siphoning used cooking oil from three restaurants in that Jackson County city, with additional thefts in Oakwood, GA, being investigated. Police say the stolen oil was likely being sold to a metro Atlanta company that paid cash without question. News agencies are reporting the two could face as many as 102 charges, including theft by taking, criminal trespass, burglary, and damage to property.

In Fort Pierce, FL, two men, ages 52 and 28, have been arrested and charged with grand theft for stealing 200 gallons of used cooking oil in that city. And two Missouri men (ages 59 and 45) have been arrested for stealing used cooking oil from a fast food restaurant in Wichita, KS, after being caught by the restaurant’s manager. The pick-up truck being driven by the men contained a large black storage tank on the back that was 80 percent full. The truck had a magnetic sign on its side, but the company does not exist in Missouri and does not have a license to operate in Kansas or Wichita. Authorities in several southeast Kansas towns have expressed interest in the two suspects as part of their investigation into used cooking oil thefts in their areas.

Grease theft news reports are posted on Render’s Facebook page as they become known.

Oregon Diesel Getting Greener

Diesel fuel in Oregon will get cleaner April 1, 2011, as the state moves from a two percent biodiesel blend to a five percent blend due to in-state annual production capacity reaching at least 15 million gallons.

In August 2010, SeQuential Pacific Biodiesel notified the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) that the fuel producer’s biodiesel production capacity had reached at least 15 million gallons per year, triggering a provision in Oregon’s 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard that requires all diesel fuel sold or offered for sale in Oregon contain a minimum of five percent biodiesel, except fuel for railroad locomotives, marine engines, and home heating applications. Jason Barber, division manager of Measurement Standards for ODA, is quoted in news reports that SeQuential does not have to actually produce 15 million gallons of biodiesel, they just simply have to have the capacity to produce that quantity. According to an ODA report, there are five other biodiesel production facilities in Oregon with a combined capacity of 1.5 million gallons. However, Barber said none of these plants were producing biodiesel as of February 2011.

In addition, there is no requirement under state law that the biofuel used in Oregon actually be produced in Oregon but at least 50 percent of the biodiesel used to meet the five percent requirement must come from qualifying feedstock, such as canola, camelina, flax, sunflower, safflower, or used cooking oil. No new labeling will be required at fuel dispensers with the new blend since the diesel fuel specification, ASTM D975, allows up to five percent biodiesel without notice.

Bahamas Biodiesel Plant Opens

In late February, Bahamas Waste, Ltd., officially opened its $1 million biodiesel facility in Nassau, Bahamas, that will annually process one million gallons of used cooking oil collected from local restaurants into biodiesel that will then be used to fuel the company’s waste trucks and other stationary equipment. Currently four trucks are using a 50 percent blend of biodiesel and diesel fuel, with plans to eventually run the entire fleet of 50 vehicles on 100 percent biodiesel as production increases.

The development of the facility has been a long-term project with partners in the Bahamas and United States assisting in the planning and implementation. Cape Systems, Ltd., a subsidiary of Cape Eleuthera Island School, consulted on the project over the past five years, while planning and construction of the facility was done in conjunction with Wisconsin Biofuels, LLC. Start-up was delayed in December due to lower quality cooking oil, but the plant is now set to produce at full capacity.

Bahamas Waste will donate 25 cents from every gallon of biodiesel produced to fund scholarships for Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholar and Deep Creek Middle School students.

Producer Acquisitions Abound

After a turbulent year in the biodiesel industry, several companies are taking the opportunity to acquire others.

In Australia, biodiesel producer Australian Renewable Fuels Limited has acquired its largest competitor, Biodiesel Producers Limited, which has a 60 million liter (15.8 million gallons) per year plant in Barnawartha, Victoria, that uses tallow and used cooking oil to produce biodiesel. The purchase will make Australian Renewable Fuels the largest biodiesel producer and supplier in Australia. In operation since 2005, the company currently has two plants – one in Adelaide, South Australia, and another in Picton, Western Australia.

Freedom Environmental Services, of Florida, is purchasing the business and assets of David M. Hickman Septic Service Company, a rendering and grease recovery business. The acquisition will give Freedom Environmental the location and partnerships needed to enter Pennsylvania and the surrounding four states. In other Freedom Environmental news, the company has signed a three-year yellow grease supply agreement with biodiesel producer Clean Fuel of Lakeland, FL. Freedom management believes the value of the contract could exceed $18 million if the maximum volumes are achieved by Grease Recovery Solutions, a subsidiary of Freedom Environmental, over the next three years.

Raptor Technology Group, Inc., based in Groveland, FL, which is in the process of acquiring Raptor Fabrication and Equipment, Inc., has bought the assets and contracts of Florida-based American Grease, LLC, which collects and brokers over four million gallons of used vegetable oil per year. According to Raptor Technology, the purchase will allow Raptor to guarantee its biodiesel plant customers a consistent supply of feedstock to keep production at maximum levels.

Jersey City Launches Cooking Oil Recycling Program

In a partnership between the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation and Grease Lightning, a Newark, NJ, collector of used cooking oil, area restaurants will receive 10 cents for every gallon of oil the company collects, which in turn processes it and sends it to biodiesel producers across the United States. As of the end of February, 60 Jersey City restaurants had signed up to participate in the program, ranging from large hotels to small family-run delis. Most restaurants previously paid to have the used cooking oil collected.

Tallow Feedstock Choice in Brazil

Minerva, a major meatpacker in Brazil, has begun producing biodiesel at its facility in the center-western state of Goiás. Tallow from the company’s slaughter plants will be used to initially produce 45 cubic meters, or 11,800 gallons, of biodiesel per day, with a capacity of 100 cubic meters, or 26,400 gallons, per day. Some of the biodiesel will be used in the company’s truck fleet with the remainer sold at auction.

Springboard Biodiesel Boasts Celebrity Spokesperson

Actress and biodiesel enthusiast Daryl Hannah is now a spokesperson for Springboard Biodiesel, Chico, CA, and will begin selling the company’s biodiesel processors from her Malibu Ranch headquarters in California. Hannah visited the company’s exhibition booth at the World AG Expo in Tulare, CA, in February, where she answered questions and demonstrated biodiesel production in Springboard’s BioPro processor.

The film star and noted biodiesel supporter told reporters she’s been tracking Springboard Biodiesel’s progress for several years and was happy to be working with the company.

Biofuels Bulletin – April 2011 RENDER | back