December 15, 2010
Results are in on a year-long biodiesel demonstration project that was undertaken by Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) and supported by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) under the National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiative (NRDDI).
The primary objective of the study was to evaluate the suitability of biodiesel blends in the agricultural sector prior to the proposed renewable fuels regulation that would require an average annual two per cent renewable content in diesel fuel.
During the 16-month demonstration period from August 2009 to November 2010, eight agriculture producers operated their equipment using canola-based biodiesel blended with diesel to determine whether the blended fuel affected engine performance. In total, over 30,000 litres of neat biodiesel were used to produce the B2 to B10 biodiesel blends that were consumed during 18,000 hours of use.
“Projects such as this represent an important step in ensuring the seamless integration of renewable diesel in the Canadian fuel market,” said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources. “The Government of Canada supports biofuels and other alternative fuels as part of our commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating jobs for Canadians.”
SRC evaluated 72 pieces of agricultural equipment including tractors, combines and farm fuel storage tanks. The agricultural producers in the study did not experience any equipment performance or maintenance issues from the use of biodiesel-blended fuels. The biodiesel fuel was closely monitored and tested at SRC’s Biofuels Test Centre™ in Regina, Saskatchewan, to ensure it maintained adequate and consistent quality throughout the year-round farming cycle.
Regardless of whether equipment was stored indoors or outdoors, full or nearly empty of fuel, throughout the off-season, the study shows that the blended fuels continued to maintain the standards specified by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
“Western Canadian farmers face extreme weather conditions over the course of the year,” said Grant McVicar, Director of Energy Conservation at SRC. “This demonstration project has confirmed that canola-based biodiesel, blended with ultra low sulphur diesel fuel, can maintain its fuel quality during storage, can be used seamlessly by the farm community without making any changes to their operations and does not cause any operability issues for farmers or distributors of this fuel.”
The study indicates that using biodiesel, up to a B10 level in warmer months and B5 in colder months, has little impact on normal operation of agricultural equipment and does not necessarily require any changes for long-term fuel storage as long as it is blended to meet the CGSB recommended temperature specifications.
“This project has demonstrated in a real world situation what many producers have believed for some time” said Zenneth Faye, Executive Manager of Milligan Bio-Tech Inc. “A valuable, high quality, renewable and environmentally-friendly fuel can be produced from canola seed that is unsuitable for the food industry and blended for use throughout the year in diesel powered equipment.”