February 6, 2006

BC provides $25K grant to encourage biodiesel market development

A provincial grant of $25,000 grant to the Fraser Basin Council will support market development of biodiesel as a sustainable fuel alternative, said British Columbia Environment Minister Barry Penner. He announced the funding at a Biodiesel Production Opportunities workshop, where industry and government leaders gathered in Richmond recently to discuss the next steps in increasing biodiesel production. Last year, the BC government removed the fuel tax from biodiesel in an effort to increase its market potential and has supported the use of biodiesel in provincial government vehicles as a pilot project.

A recent government-funded feasibility study determined that community-based production, using recycled restaurant and food processing fryer oils, offers a good opportunity for biodiesel in BC, given that the province has little available agricultural land to produce vegetable oils in large volumes.

"Biodiesel is a safe, non-toxic and renewable fuel alternative for diesel engines, and... has the potential to produce jobs, improve air quality and reduce our footprint on the environment," said Penner. "To make it happen, we need to work together to find solutions that are economically viable and energy-efficient," he added.

The use of biodiesel as a renewable fuel blend reduces greenhouse gas emissions and most air pollutants. It can be blended with conventional diesel or used as a complete substitute. In both pure and blended forms, biodiesel reduces emissions of air toxins, CO2, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and black smoke from vehicles.

Since 1991 when commercial-scale production first began in Germany, global production of biodiesel has increased rapidly and it is now the fastest-growing alternative fuel in Europe. The biodiesel industry has also generated more than 19,000 production jobs.

In the U.S., B20 - a blend of 20% biodiesel with 80% petro-diesel - is widely used. In Canada, biodiesel remains in the early stages of market development. Several bus companies are doing trials with imported biodiesel, and the first biodiesel service station was opened in Toronto two years ago.

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