There are few things more fundamental to Canadians than the rich natural legacy we have inherited. Canadians understand the importance of the environment, both to the quality of life we enjoy and to our future economic progress.
There is also clear recognition that certain activities are having a harmful effect on the environment and that the choices we make today can determine the health of out environment - not only for tomorrow or next year, but 100 years from now.
One of the most pressing environmental challenges is that of global warming. The international scientific community has concluded that the rapid increase in the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere can be expected to increase the earth's surface temperature, change our climate, alter our environment and endanger our health.
Biofuels are fuels made from biological products. Two examples are ethanol and biodiesel. Ethanol is a commercial alcohol that is made today from grain. It can also be made from cellulose fibres such as straw, but this is a new approach and is still under development. Taking all factors into account during it's production and use, ethanol from grain has about 40 percent fewer GHG emissions than gasoline, and cellulosic ethanol has about 80 percent fewer emissions than gasoline. Ethanol can be blended up to 10 percent with gasoline and used in cars without modifications.
Biodiesel is a diesel fuel substitute that can be made from variety of virgin vegetable oils as well as animal fats and waste vegetable oils. New areas include oils from algae and halophytes, and while promising these industries are in the early stages of development. Biodiesel can be blended with ULS diesel in differing blends typically ranging from B5 to B20 (5% biodiesel and 20% biodiesel respectively). As the amount of blended bio increases so too does the reduction in emissions.
The following are some quick additional facts relating to Biodiesel:
Biodiesel does not require new refueling stations, new parts inventories or expensive engine modifications. It can be completely utilized within the existing infrastructure. All storage tanks, pipelines and end retail stations can handle biodiesel blends.
Most new engine manufacturer's warranties cover a minimum of a B5 blend, with some warranties covering as high as B100. The following link provides a summary chart of warranty coverages: http://www.biodiesel.org/using-biodiesel/oem-information/oem-statement-summary-chart
One bushel of soybeans produces about 1.5 gallons of biodiesel, and one gallon of soy-based biodiesel contains 132,902 BTUs.
Over 100 cities have run demonstrations or test projects utilizing biodiesel, including more than 1,000 buses and several million miles.
Biodiesel improves air quality by sharply reducing the emissions, including particulate matter, that straight petroleum diesel releases when it burns.
Biodiesel-powered engines deliver similar torque, horsepower and kilometres per litre as petroleum-powered diesels.
The United States, Brazil and France are the Top 3 producers of biodiesel in the world. Many countries including the US and Canada now have Federal mandates in place. For example, in 2013 the US EPA mandated volume requirements of 1.28 billion gallons of biodiesel.