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On-Road Testing Phase of Alberta Renewable Diesel Demonstration Begins

The on-road testing phase of the Alberta Renewable Diesel Demonstration, Canada’s largest evaluation and demonstration of renewable diesel fuels to date, has officially begun. More than 60 trucks of various sizes are operating throughout Alberta on B2 and B5 blends of various renewable diesel fuels to test for performance, cold weather operability and impact on engine components.

Alberta’s climate poses extreme challenges to renewable diesel use. The demonstration will provide hands-on, cold-weather experience for fuel blenders, distributors, long-haul trucking fleets and drivers.

The federal government has announced plans to implement a Renewable Fuels Standard requiring 2% renewable content in the Canadian diesel supply by 2012. The standard is dependent upon the successful demonstration of renewable diesel use under a range of Canadian conditions.

The Government of Canada and Province of Alberta are investing C$2.6 million into the project, which is managed by Climate Change Central, a public-private not-for-profit organization in Alberta focused on reducing greenhouse gases.

The on-road demonstration comes after months of laboratory testing of various fuel feedstocks and production processes, including NExBTL from Neste Oil, one of the project’s sponsors.

Shell Canada is the demonstration’s ultra low sulphur diesel supplier and the renewable diesel blender and distributor through the project’s temporary facility being operated by Shell Canada at its Sherwood Terminal.

Additional sponsors and supporters include the Canola Council of Canada, Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, Canadian Bioenergy, Neste Oil and Milligan BioTech.

The demonstration included a lab testing phase and is now going beyond the laboratory to put renewable diesel through typical on-road use by trucking companies. Participating trucking companies include: Rosenau Transport Ltd., Hi-Way 9, First Bus Canada and Gibson Energy Ltd. Road testing will continue until October 2008.


Mark A

My guess is that the Alberta's climate challenges have something to do with biodiesel either solidifying, clouding, and or separating out in the blend, although this was not mentioned in the article. Is this true?

If these tests are passed, what are the odds of Canada's biodiesel mandate being met, at either B2 or B5 levels, factoring the ethanol demand issue?


B2 and B5 are unlikely to have problems with clouding and in cold climates there have been a number of tests with biodiesel, including the Montreal BioBus project which tested blends up to B20, and only had minor issues. Most of the cold flow problems can be eliminated with proper fuelling techniques and it is more likely that you would get fliter clogging as a result of the biodiesel cleansing out the crud that accumulated in the fuel system from previous diesel. So if operators of the buses and the fueling guys are trained properly to monitor the right filters in the intial 3 months, most of those problems can be overcome.
Again with B2 and B5 you are less likely to get any issues in cold weather.

Canada's biodiesel needs are around 600 million litres (B2) by 2012 I believe, which is definitely achievable if new canola-based plants come online, which appears to be on track. Currently there are 3 plants operating in Canada that have 117 million litres of capacity, so a few big plants would easily address the B2 requirements within the next 4 years.


I remember an episode of Top Gear where one of the presenters took a 100% bio-diesel fueled C1/107/Aygo to cold weather testing facility and it was -40deg C before the car started choking because the fuel was becoming cloudy. -40deg is ridiculously cold!!

The youtube video has been removed unfortunately, but here's the car I'm talking about if you don't know.

Anyone else see it?

Harvey D

With 200+ trillion barrels available in local tar sands, why would Alberta even try to use unadapted biodiesel, at least for the next 2 or 3 centuries.

Unless this is part of a biodiesel cold weather testing project paid with fossil fuel $$$ ...?


As a former resident of the far North, I can tell you that at -40, you already need a battery blanket and a block heater just to start up in the morning.

"With 200+ trillion barrels available in local tar sands, why would Alberta even try to use unadapted biodiesel, at least for the next 2 or 3 centuries."

they also have some of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions on the planet, so it might be an idea to reduce those, no? seeing as we are on GREENcarcongress?


B2 and B5??? Leaving 98% and 95% of their fuel usage to good old tar sands petroleum. Can anyone say token effort?

Mark M

More testing? There have been many tests in Canada on biodiesel including my town in B.C with B10, over a 12 month period; all performed well, with no issues, no body even noticed. I suspect the pilot gives Alberta some brownie points without actually doing anything not to mention they might actually find something wrong so they can shut it down, they haven't liked the successful results so far. The oil and gas lobby in Alberta is too large and creates too much money.

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