Out of the cold: test results hope to boost biodiesel

CALGARY — The Alberta Renewable Diesel Demonstration (ARDD) was on an a mission to prove biodiesel could withstand winter temperatures in Canada, and now they have proof.

The study was Canada’s largest cold-weather study of renewable diesel fuels and, according to the stakeholders, have successfully demonstrated the on-road use of low level renewable diesel blends in a range of Canadian climatic conditions.

"This critical demonstration project confirms similar adverse condition tests in the USA and Europe. Biodiesel is a viable tool in diversifying our energy supply and reducing green house gases in some of the harshest of Canadian weather conditions," says Gordon Quaiattini, president of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association.

Designed as a two-phased approach, the ARDD involved laboratory testing followed by real-world use of renewable diesel blends by Alberta trucking fleets.

The on-road demonstration, which ran from December 2007 to September 2008, put first- and second- generation renewable diesel fuels on the road in 59 long-haul commercial vehicles across Alberta.

During winter months, two types of two percent renewable diesel blends were used: fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) and hydrogenated-derived renewable diesel (HDRD). During the spring and summer, five per cent blends of HDRD and FAME (comprised of 75 percent canola methyl ester and 25 per cent tallow methyl ester) were dispensed.

"The ARDD has confirmed the operability of low level renewable diesel blends in the cold weather conditions tested, and has provided practical information and operational experience to stakeholders in the Canadian diesel fuel industry," says John Rilett, vice-president of Climate Change Central.

All fuels dispensed in the demonstration were precisely blended with a commercial-grade, injection blending system, typical of what would be anticipated once the federal Renewable Fuel Standard is implemented. The blended fuels met Canadian General Standards Board specifications for quality and cold weather performance, including cloud points for the areas of Edmonton, Lloydminster and Calgary where the fuels were dispensed.

The ARDD was Canada’s first demonstration to include ultra low sulphur kerosene for the adjustment of cloud points.

Managed by Climate Change Central, this multi-stakeholder demonstration was sponsored and supported by numerous groups, including trucking operations Rosenau Transport, Hi-Way 9, Gibson Energy, and CF Managing Movement.

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