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Alberta concludes biodiesel demonstration

23 February 2009

The Alberta Renewable Diesel Demonstration (ARDD), Canada’s largest cold-weather study of renewable diesel fuels, has concluded its activities and issued a final report. The program successfully demonstrated the on-road use of low level renewable diesel blends in a range of Canadian climatic conditions.

Designed as a two-phased approach, the ARDD involved laboratory testing followed by real-world use of renewable diesel blends by Alberta trucking fleets. The on-road demonstration, which ran from December 2007 to September 2008, put first- and second- generation renewable diesel fuels on the road in 59 long-haul commercial vehicles across Alberta. During winter months, two types of 2% renewable diesel blends were used: fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) and hydrogenated-derived renewable diesel (HDRD). During the spring and summer, 5% blends of HDRD and FAME (comprised of 75% canola methyl ester and 25% tallow methyl ester) were dispensed.

The ARDD was Canada’s first demonstration to work with major petroleum producers and distributors to provide pilot-level experience of renewable diesel blending at full commercial scale, using in-line blending at a primary diesel terminal, or ‘rack’. The ARDD was also Canada’s first demonstration to adjust the finished fuels’ cloud points using ultra low sulfur kerosene (ULSK) in order to fully meet the cold operability specifications in the CAN/CGSB 3.520 fuel standard. From December 2007 to March 2008, blending to meet the cloud point schedule required ULSK addition of 21-43% of the blend for 2% FAME and 8-15% of the blend for 2% HDRD.

Over the span of the demonstration, the ARDD dispensed over 1.6 million liters of blended fuel. The ARDD showed that it is possible to create, dispense and use low level blends of renewable diesel fuels (both FAME and HDRD) in Canada’s cold climates using existing distribution and commercial infrastructure. Regarding the program objective of assessing operability, no loss of service events were noted in the ARDD.

The results obtained during the demonstration will be provided as documentation in response to the Government of Canada’s Notice of Intent to adopt a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which would include biofuel blending requirements.

Managed by Climate Change Central, the demonstration was sponsored and supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Program, Alberta Energy’s Biodiesel Commercialization and Market Program and Biodiesel Infrastructure Development Program, Shell Canada Limited, Canadian Bioenergy Corporation, Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, Canola Council of Canada, Milligan Bio-Tech, Natural Resources Canada, Neste Oil and the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute.

Source: ARDD