September 26, 2005

Biofuels registry, incentive program designed to promote quality testing

The Alberta Research Council (ARC) has teamed up with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to create an on-line Biofuels Quality Registry. Biodiesel producers and end users can now register on the Biofuels Quality Registry Web site, an extranet site hosted by ARC, to have their products tested for quality.

This registry will help ensure that end-users have a quality product and that producers have an option for quality control. The site will also serve as the national database into which analysis results of candidate biofuels are entered.

In addition, NRCan will provide a partial rebate on the cost of the analysis, which averages $1,400, to encourage more small and medium-sized producers, as well as end-users, to have biodiesel analyzed on a regular basis. This is a two-year program with $100,000 available per year. A Biofuels Technical Steering Committee (BTSC) consisting of representatives from ARC, NRCan and Environment Canada will approve all applications for incentives.

The fuel testing will be performed by ARC's Fuels and Lubricants Group (FLG), a nationally recognized accredited laboratory which has been producing high-quality results for more than 65 years. Its years of conducting quality assurance programs for the Canadian petroleum industry have given FLG significant expertise across a wide range of petroleum analyses, including fuel certifications. This expertise has recently expanded to the analysis of biodiesel.

The results obtained from the fuel quality tests of biodiesel will be entered into an accessible database which will track biodiesel quality metrics. This will result in the development of an industry protocol and standard for biofuel analysis. NRCan will use the information gathered by the registry to develop a set of specifications for biofuels in Canada and help establish a quality benchmark for biodiesel.

NRCan and Environment Canada will use the information collected to support research and policy activities. The federal government may also use the information to compile an annual trends report that will be available through the site. All results, however, will be confidential and specific to the user.

"All analytical data will be confidentially coded," ARC program co-ordinator Deni Sarnelli explained. "This will offer complete security to the user. Users apply for approval, receive a username and password, then send in the sample for analysis and check online for results."

The Biofuels Quality Registry is part of the Biodiesel Initiative proposed in 2003 within the Climate Change Plan for Canada to improve the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Funding was allocated to the initiative to address technical and market barriers to the Canadian biodiesel industry.

The extranet site can be found at www.biofuels.arc.ab.ca.

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