Lethbridge: In a province that has been called short-sighted for its dependence on "non-rewable" energy, it's noteworthy that "reweable" fuel is getting more attention. But then, when you have a reputation as a major player in the energy sector It seems only appropraite that you embrace energy forms in the plural.
Alberta is upping its commitment to bio-energy with the Renewable Fuels Standard that takes effect April first. The legislation requires an average of two per cent renewable diesel in diesel fuel and five per cent renewable alchohol in gasoline sold in the province. The greenhouse gas emissions of renewable diesel or alchohol must be at lest 25 per cent lower than the equivalent petroleum fuel.
The province will also extend the Bio-energy Producer Credit Program to 2016, to encourage production. Over the next three years, $336 million has been allocated to the program, including $58 million in 2011-12 to support bioenergy production in the province.
The value-added opportunities expected for our province's bio-energy sector will beneft a couple of local companies in different ways.
John Koliaksa, Presdient and CEO of J-K Trucking in Lethbridge, has been running 64 of his trucks on bio-diesel for almost three years. However, he has to use imported product because he can't source enough close to home.
Koliaska has also helped dispel claims that bio-diesel wouldn't work in our climate by using his own company as a test case. He admits, "There's no better way to say it works than to try it ourselves". He notes, "We got Olds College involved in a study to monitor our company's use along the way and take out any variables and eliminate any potential bias".
Koliaska says, "We've been able to put through a lot a litres in that time (three-years) and monitor results, which proves bio-diesel does work in this climate". He noted, "We have even been able to prove that it works at a much higher mix than what is now being stipulated by the R-F-S (Renewable Fuels Standard).
The bio-diesel mix Koliaska used in his trucks was running at 10-and-a half per cent. His study found minor gains in fuel economy and engine wear.
The problem with not being able to source enough bio-fuel locally will soon be taken care of. The Bio-energy Credit Program helps with production and Kyoto Fuels is expected to have a 66-million litre per year facility in production within a few months, just south of Lethbridge.