CTA still not convinced on biodiesel; wants to build on tests

OTTAWA — While the Canadian Trucking Alliance admits the Alberta Renewable Diesel Demonstration has answered some important questions, the trucking group wants to see more work done.

From its humble beginnings, there has been a frosty reception to biodiesel from the trucking community. 

Some cold weather issues that resulted in plugged fuel filters in Minnesota a few years back have made many members of the trucking community nervous, especially considering a looming mandatory implementation date. 

Canada’s feds want to introduce a national on-road biodiesel mandate by 2012, and some provinces — B.C., Alberta, and Manitoba — already have plans to put standards in place beforehand.

The federal mandate was predicated upon a commitment that all practical and technical issues involving the interaction, compatibility, availability and distribution of biodiesel at the prescribed average biofuel content (2 percent, or known as B2) with heavy trucks would be addressed prior to the introduction of the mandate.

Enter the Alberta Renewable Diesel Demonstration (ARDD). The cold weather operational ability of biodiesel was recently concluded and the results came back positive. 

2010 engines add a new wrinkle to
the biodiesel debate in Canada

The ARDD concludes that blends of biodiesel meeting the CGSB standards, including the correction for cloud schedule, can be used in heavy-duty vehicle at 2 percent level (B2) in winter, and up to 5 percent (B5) in rest of the year.

According to the CTA and the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, transitioning from this successful small-scale demonstration project to full commercial implementation on a national basis presents significant additional challenges.

CPPI and CTA, and their respective members, still have a few questions they want answered before they can be supportive a the renewable diesel mandate. On the trucking side, the big question is whether or not the biodiesel blends will work in 2010 engines.

CTA’s concern is how new engines using urea to achieve increased emissions standards will interact with biodiesel.

“CTA believes another round of tests involving 2010 model year truck engines is warranted to determine if there are any potential issues involving the use of biodiesel and urea on the performance of the new emission control systems,” notes the lobby group in a statement. “These tests must also include blends from B2 to B5, or higher during all seasonal conditions.”

From CPPI’s perspective, there are a whole variety of issues, ranging from handling and storage, to refinery upgrades


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