Canadian Biomass Magazine

Cost of ‘renewable’ propane so far unknown: Canadian Propane Association

March 21, 2024
By Carl Clutchey, Local Journalism Initiative

Developing technology may make a popular heating fuel used by farmers and rural residents better for the environment, but the price could remain a flash point at least in the short term.

The Canadian Propane Association (CPA), which is touting the “renewable” version of propane based on research it funded, said the price Canadian customers would pay for the cleaner fuel is not immediately known.

“It depends,” an association spokeswoman said on Wednesday. “What we see in the U.S. currently is the premium cost for renewable propane.”

“That being said, given economies of scale and improved technology, we expect longer-term prices to decrease.”


The spokeswoman added: “As it stands currently, renewable propane, like all other biofuels, is more expensive to produce than conventional propane, thus the increased price.”

The study commissioned by the Canadian Propane Association claims renewable propane made from less-polluting materials like plant-based oils and animal fats could cut emissions by 85 per cent.

Propane, which has been retailing of late for about half the cost of home-heating oil — and is less polluting than oil — is often a choice for rural residents who don’t have access to natural gas.

Still, local advocates for a fairer price, like Conmee Mayor Sheila Maxwell, have noted that propane remains unregulated in Ontario and customers must haggle with suppliers every heating season.

Meanwhile, it’s not clear when Canadian residential customers would have access to renewable propane.

Currently, “refineries have indicated a preference to keeping the renewable propane as a low-emission feedstock for their facilities,” the association spokeswoman said.

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