BioMer project will demonstrate use of biodiesel in Quebec cruise shipsThe Canadian and Quebec governments are collaborating with the marine transportation sector in a $563,000 project to demonstrate that biodiesel is a viable alternative fuel for cruise ships.
The BioMer project will test the use of pure biodiesel (B100) as a fuel supply for a fleet of various types and sizes of cruisers operating in two very tourist-intensive areas: the Old Port of Montreal and the Lachine Canal National Historic Site. In addition to measuring emissions, the BioMer project will highlight the impact of biodiesel (a fuel made from vegetable oil, recycled cooking oil or animal fats) on marine engine performance and river ecology.
The federal government will contribute a total of $323,000 to the project through a partnership that includes Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions.
"The BioMer project will help us assess the environmental, economic and social benefits of using biodiesel in Canada and will promote market acceptance of renewable fuels like biodiesel," said NRCan Minister John Efford.
"This project is an excellent example of the development and deployment of next-generation technologies required to make the large emissions reductions needed to successfully address climate change over the long term," noted Environment Minister StÈphane Dion. "It also helps position Canada's long-term competitiveness in the burgeoning global market for environmental technology," he added.
At the provincial level, both the Quebec Environment and Transport ministries have supported the BioMer project with a total of $25,000. Quebec Environment Minister Thomas J. Mulcair said, "I am delighted to see that biodiesel's positive impact on reducing greenhouse gas and other polluting emissions...is now being tested in the maritime transport sector. Furthermore, since biodiesel has the advantage of turning agro-industry waste into an asset, it is promising both from an environmental and economic standpoint."
Transport Minister Yvon Marcoux stressed that the transportation sector is called upon to play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. "The BioMer project...lets us consider using new sources of fuel that pollute less and, more importantly, takes another step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to ensure a healthier environment for future generations."
Two of the project's key initiators are the Sine Nomine Group and Maritime Innovation's Technology Transfer Centre. Maritime Innovation CEO Jacques Paquin noted that "by demonstrating that it is technically feasible and commercially viable to use biodiesel in the maritime sector, the BioMer project helps to develop innovative expertise in greenhouse gas reduction and to create a new industry with potential applications on the national and international level."
Camil LagacÈ, BioMer project director and president of the Sine Nomine Group, said the project was well received from the beginning. "All partners enthusiastically agreed to participate. Their commitment to the environment and their determination to take tangible steps to reduce emissions and preserve water quality along the Seaway are proof that biodiesel is of interest to the cruise industry," he stated.
Rothsay, a subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods, will produce the pure biodiesel and supply the fuel during the project. The firm, located in Ville Sainte-Catherine, specializes recycling agro-industry wastes, The 12 cruise ships being used in the BioMer project belong to four companies. CroisiËres AML owns three vessels; Lachine Rapids Tours - Jet Boating MontrÈal owns seven; and the Bateau-Mouche owns one. All of these are docked at the Old Port of MontrÈal. The twelfth vessel, owned by Lachine Canal Cruise, is docked at the Atwater Market dock, Lachine Canal National Historic Site.
During the demonstration project, 254,000 litres of biodiesel will be required to fuel the BioMer fleet: 11 will run on pure biodiesel (B100) and one on a 5% blend (B5). This will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 593 tonnes over the duration of the project, equivalent to the quantity produced by 119 vehicles driven 20,000 kilometres each for one year. Cruisers began using the fuel on June 23, 2004, and will continue October 2004.
More information is available from BioMer project director Camil LagacÈ, of the Sine Nomine Group, 514/523-5624, ext 221, E-mail Camil.lagace@SineNomine.ca.