NRDDI - Background

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What is renewable diesel?

For the purposes of this program, renewable diesel is defined as a diesel fuel substitute made from renewable materials such as vegetable oil, waste cooking oil, animal fat, fish oil or cellulosic feedstocks consisting of agriculture and forest biomass. Biodiesel is one common example of a renewable diesel.

Why is the Government of Canada supporting renewable diesel?

The Government of Canada is committed to expanding the production and use of a range of cleaner, renewable biofuels, including renewable diesel. The intent is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from fuel use, encourage greater production of biofuels, accelerate the commercialization of new biofuel technologies, and provide new market opportunities for agricultural producers and rural communities.

Analysis performed at Natural Resources Canada using the GHGenius model estimates that, under typical Canadian conditions, vegetable oil-based biodiesel production and use can reduce life cycle fossil energy use by around 80% and life cycle GHG emissions by more than 60% compared to crude oil-based diesel. Renewable diesel can also reduce tail-pipe emissions of some air pollutants compared to petroleum diesel.

Why are demonstration projects needed?

In December 2006 the Government announced its intention to develop a regulation requiring an average annual 2% renewable fuel content in diesel fuel and heating oil, upon successful demonstration of renewable diesel fuel use under the range of Canadian conditions.

Renewable diesel has been tested in a variety of vehicle engines under driving conditions in many parts of Europe and the United States. Renewable diesel has also been tested in certain applications in Canada, such as trucks, buses and marine vessels.

During consultation, Canadian industry sectors and end-users have raised questions related to large-scale integration of renewable diesel into fuel distribution networks. The National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiative aims to address these remaining questions in advance of the proposed regulation coming into effect.