Feb. 19, 2015 - The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association is beginning the New Year with new leadership, a growing membership and an evolving focus.
February 19, 2015 By the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association
In December 2014 the CRFA hosted the first annual Canadian Bioeconomy Conference, a well-attended and well-received event. Many delegates were specifically interested in the new agenda offerings as the focus shifted beyond biofuels to address the various bioproducts currently being developed in Canada.
Overall the agenda was rich, the conversations were lively and there was renewed excitement in the future of the industry.
The Bioeconomy Track hosted discussions on the future of Canada’s bioeconomy, with topics such as Forestry Innovations in the Bioeconomy, and One Man’s Trash: Turning Agricultural Waste Into the Future of Biomaterials. It was evident that this burgeoning segment of the bioeconomy was eager to assemble, share ideas and seek support.
New CRFA president Andrea Kent welcomed conference participants, crediting members’ help in building a domestic renewable fuels industry. She acknowledged that the association’s work was far from done, explaining that Canada’s renewable fuels industry is continuing to grow, improve and innovate. Around the world, the global economy is promoting innovation and expanding biofuel policies. With many jurisdictions introducing robust policy supports, program incentives and carbon pricing, Kent’s message was clear: Canadian policies must keep pace.
The CRFA has put forward an action plan that will trigger investment for Canadian innovations in biofuels and the bioeconomy. The Evolution and Growth action plan focuses on:
- Growing the market share of renewable content in liquid fuels;
- Ensuring our companies’ products are available to consumers; and
- Remaining a strong contributor to how Canada addresses GHG reductions.
Growing the market share of renewable content is critical if Canada is to achieve its economic and environmental goals. Many levels of government should be looking at biofuels as critical components of their carbon reduction strategies. Case in point, the government of Ontario’s greener diesel legislation recently raised the mandated renewable content in diesel fuels from two per cent to four per cent by 2017. Renewable fuels can reduce GHG emissions by as much as 99% when compared to petroleum based diesel. Ontario’s two per cent inclusion requirement will be the equivalent of removing the emissions from 140,000 cars annually, and this number will double when inclusion requirements reach four per cent.
Ensuring consumers have access to these higher level biofuels blends is equally as important. As automakers are required to improve fuel economy, ethanol – a higher octane fuel – will become increasingly important to power the smaller, lighter engines these new fuel economy standards will require. In Canada, however, there are less than 10 pumps that offer higher ethanol blends to consumers. Fuelling infrastructure is an issue that must be addressed in Canada.
Further, the importance of market access is by no means limited to renewable fuels. Tomorrow’s bioeconomy relies on developing new technologies for sustainable, bio-based products, and successfully bringing these to market.
Programs like the Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) TechFund™ and the SDTC NextGen Biofuels Fund™ (NGBF) have proven very successful. However, unlike in Europe and the U.S., a transition fund for these new technologies does not exist. Creating a biorefinery fund to support innovative and potentially groundbreaking technology will not only accelerate progress in research, but help define and secure Canada’s overall energy future.
Today is a time of real environmental challenges and great economic opportunity. As Kent told attendees in December. Capitalizing on these opportunities continues to be the CRFA’s main focus.
As the recent past has shown, a thriving and fully realized domestic renewable fuels industry is more than possible — it is viable and working in Canada. Now is the time to build on this successful platform. The results will benefit our immediate energy future, but more importantly, lay the foundation for the prosperity of generations to come.
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