OTA makes impression with biodiesel concerns

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TORONTO, Ont. — The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) has released a statement saying it appears to have been successful in its campaign to make the Minister of Agriculture think twice about the imminent mandatory adoption of biodiesel for commercial vehicles.

In a written statement dated Aug. 29, Leona Dombrowsky, the newly-minted Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, wrote that she was aware of the concerns the trucking industry has about biodiesel as a fuel.

“I understand that the federal government has introduced new on-road vehicle and engine emission regulations that will impact heavy duty vehicles. Under these regulations, biodiesel will have less smog reduction advantage over petrodiesel,” she wrote.

The minister went on to acknowledge biodiesel’s cold weather challenges and noted the industry’s concern over biodiesel blends when it comes to engine warranty, distribution and cost.

“The Canadian government continues to conduct its own assessments of biodiesel, including fleet and transit demonstrations,” the minister wrote. “You may be aware that an end-user demonstration is being conducted on long-haul commercial transport vehicles. The results of that demonstration are expected next year.”

The OTA said they believe the minister’s letter indicates mandatory biodiesel for Ontario’s commercial trucks has been put on hold — for now.

But the OTA found one part of the minister’s letter troubling. Dombrowsky wrote that “yellow grease” derived from used fryer is being considered as an alternative to virgin vegetable oil feedstocks including soybean and canola oil. The OTA said they question the ability of this source to meet diesel demand in Ontario.

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