Manitoba will make an average two per cent biodiesel content mandatory for all diesel fuel sold in the province, starting Nov. 1.
“Biodiesel will benefit Manitoba’s agricultural communities while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 56,000 tonnes, the equivalent of taking 11,000 cars off the road annually,” provincial Energy Minister Jim Rondeau said in a release Sept. 10.
The mandate will require diesel fuel suppliers’ sales over a year to average out to two per cent biodiesel content.
“This will give fuel suppliers the flexibility to deal with cold weather conditions in Manitoba,” the province said. A two per cent (B2) biodiesel blend can raise the cloud point of diesel by 2 to 3C.
The cloud point is the temperature at which diesel begins to crystallize and, eventually, gel. Pure (B100) canola-based biodiesel, for example, has a cloud point of about -3C.
The province expects B5 blends will be sold “on a seasonal basis, during the warmer months” to meet the mandate.
Manitoba will also consider a higher mandate once there is a Canadian fuel standard in place for biodiesel blends above five per cent, Rondeau said.
The provincial government said it also intends to replace its current fuel tax exemption with a 14-cent-per-litre, five-year production grant for both on-and off-road biodiesel produced in Manitoba starting in spring 2010.
To enforce product quality, the province has already set up a regulation requiring licences for biodiesel manufacturers and the adoption of fuel-quality standards.
The biodiesel mandate is “great news for our industry,” said Royce Rostecki, owner of Winnipeg biofuel firm Speedway International Inc.
“With the new mandate and incentive, Manitoba is going to become a force in fuel production, no longer relying solely on imported fuels,” he said in the province’s release.
Speedway is the province’s only licensed biodiesel manufacturer so far, although two other biodiesel plants are in the works in Manitoba.
One, Bifrost Bio-Blends, is “nearing completion” on a four-million-litre-per-year, canolabased biodiesel facility near Arborg, about 110 km north of Winnipeg.
The other, Eastman Biofuels, plans a 10-million-litre-per-year facility making biodiesel from non-food-grade canola and recycled fats and greases at Beausejour, about 55 km east of Winnipeg.