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BIOFUELS REGULATIONS GREAT NEWS FOR ONTARIO’S GRAIN FARMERS The commitment from the government to move forward with the regulations for two percent renewable fuel content in diesel fuel is great news for Ontario’s grain farmers.

GUELPH, ON (February 11, 2011) –

This two percent mandate will mean a demand for 500 million litres per year of bio-diesel across Canada that will boost local demand and strengthen prices for soybean and canola farmers. This will mean more marketing options for our farmers and more jobs for Canadians – a true win-win.

"A conservative estimate of the ethanol industry’s impact on local corn prices is an increase of $0.10 to $0.25 per bushel, depending on the year and location of the farm," said Don Kenny, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario at the announcement in Hamilton. "It will be a similar story for soybeans as a result of bio-diesel production."

Farmers are not the only ones who will benefit from higher grain values as a result of the growth of the biofuels industry. Income stability for Ontario’s grain farmers becomes money spent in our rural communities. It also means a stronger, more sustainable provincial economy where 40,000 jobs in the supply chain depend on our production of grain.

A national investment in biodiesel production is not just an economic win for the country, but also has a significantly positive impact on the environment. The production of crops for biodiesel can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 99 percent compared to fossil fuels.

"Thank you to the Canadian government for the implementation of a Renewable Fuels Strategy that will truly benefit our farmers, our rural communities and all Canadians," summarized Kenny

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Good start, we need to keep moving in this direction with renewable fuels.

Hmmmm,

Kenny does make some good points regarding the benefits of a biofuel policy, however, I feel compelled to round out the discussion rather than blindly accept this policy at face value.

Firstly, I keep hearing about how we need to feed 9billion people by 2050. That is not going to be easier if we are growing crops on prime farmland for biofuel production. Plus, we are already seeing riots around the world from price increases on grain. Lately that has been because of freaky weather in Canada and Russia (climate change?), but a couple of years ago it was because of biofuel demand.

Secondly, there is question about weather biofuel production from soy, canola and corn actually consumes more petroleum than it produces. When you factor in the fuel required to manufacture fertilizers and pesticides, and then the use of tractors and equipment in the field and then trucking costs, and then refining, and then more trucking, you may actually consume more fuel than you produce! In other words, such a process is not sustainable and will only be able to be maintained for a couple of decades.

Perhaps it would be better to generate energy from biodigesting (which might mitigate excess phosphorus in swine manure rather than genetically engineering swine, among other benefits), and fuel from perennial crops such as switchgrass on marginal land. Even the use of corn stover for biofuel concerns me since that is organic matter that should be put back into the soil....

I won't pretend to have the answers on this issue, but I can't help but to look critically at a renewable energy strategy such as this.

another reply,

 

 Kenny does make a point that is valid in the food riots, I was down to Haiti 15 years ago to help out and it overwhelmed all five of my senses to see the poverty. That was at a time when they were under military rule and to some of the people that I was involved with said that things were not great at that time but they have seen much worse. So in 08'? or 09? when the price of imported rice skyrocketed that meant that more than normal were with less food.

 I know what is next is not part of the Bio Fuel Regulations but personal experience. This is what I would call the do not try this at home comment. I went and tried to do the waste vegetable oil to bio diesel. The internet was a great source of info, "all you have to do is" (this should be the first warning) take the waste oil and add the meth-oxide and pour it into the tank. Great I thought!! the math was about 35 to 40 cents per liter. Go B-100 to save money!! There are some things that the initial internet search didn't show.

1. the quality of the waste oil (I know what you are thinking what does this have to do with the Bio Fuel Regulation? at this point you skip down to the conslusion). What is available in my area isn't that great of quality and with the cooking of the food the oil gets hydroginated to a certain level. This is not good. If the oil were to be canola (not shortening) and lightly used, say only cooking spring rolls, this would be better.

2. the ph of the finnished product is important. Which could cause engine wear.

3. the cloud point of the finnished product is important. The useable product if the B-oil is too thick could cause the injectors to crust? and creat an uneven spray pattern which could cause cylnder wear.

4. the B-oil is basicly a solvent and if you have rubber O rings in the injection pump the B-oil could disolve them. The newer engines will be  able to handle the B-oil.

5. the B-oil will probably have water in it due to the processing and should be heated to remove the moisture.

6. the glicerine that is removed from the B-oil (that is created in the processing method that I used). There is methanol in this glicerine and it is toxic and should not be spread on the field or dumped elsewere until it has been heated to get the methanol removed.

7.????

 In conclusion, since the sulfur in the diesel got reduced, the engines need lubricant in the fuel and I currently get it from a local truck and trailer parts place and add it to the diesel ($25? does 900? liters). I found the need to add the lubricant when my Dodge Cummings had issues with power, the one time it even stalled when it was idleing. After adding the lubricant to the fuel the engine returned to it's former self with no money spent on the injection pump. The 2% Bio is a positive step in that it it will provide the nesessary lubricity to have the engine function better than low sulfur fuel alone. At 2% it will not affect the older engines.There has been reasearch that shows that a 1% Bio content does add enough lubricity to help the engine. It is important in my mind to have a strict minimum standard for the quality of the finnished product that gets added to our fuel.

 Now the disclaimer!!! These are my thoughts at this time and as more info comes my way my thinking on this topic might change.

peasant62

If they can guarantee that there will be no fuel quality contamination, or algae growing in the tank, which will cause major damage to my equipment.  I store fuel and don't use it right away.  They better make sure that the organics in the fuel is not going to be a huge expense in maintenance for the end-user.  What's going to happen to equipment that just sits idle for half a year?  Am I going to have to drain all the fuel?  I am more then happen to just add a diesel lubricant because of the low sulphur content.  I am afraid that fuel management is going to be a large task for the end-user, to make sure that organics in bio-diesel don't grow bacteria.

Hi Andy,

Do you think the 2% biodiesel is going to be a problem?

I never thought about your point before.

 

Hi Colin,

I think this food vs fuel debate is going to become a more heated discussion with $100 per barrel oil and rising food costs.

As a farmer, I hate when corn is $2/bu and beans $6/bu...

I also think that expensive fuel is going to encourage more conservation...

How long do you think it will be before we have alternatives to corn ethanol?

 

Hey peasant,

Don't you think Haiti's problems are more because of "Failed State" history and issues?

I too wish they could help their people more...even with the world support after the earthquake it seems they are still not making it better for the people.

Thanks for the waste oil to biodiesel info...

 

Thanks

 

I Its organic, why shouldn't it be a problem, even though its 2%.  We run tractors that are tier 3 and higher now and with higher injector fuel pressures. Algae grows and spreads and will contaminate all the fuel. Once you get algae in the fuel lines you have to replace them, since it is impossible to get all the algae out of it anymore.  It won't be a concern for those that use a lot of fuel.

Really interesting stuff about effects of ethanol in engine.

I am not such an expert on the production of ethanol, but to the question of alternatives to corn based ethanol, from what I understand the technology already exists to derive ethanol from anything with cellulose - even waste wood from sawmills. Switchgrass is garnering interest because it is native, and produces huge amounts of biomass with no fertilizers and pesticides needed; it is drought tolerant, and thrives on marginal soil. REAP-Canada has good info on switchgrass for energy production. It is based on heating pellets, but I imagine liquid fuel for running engines is also possible.

http://www.reap-canada.com/bio_and_climate_3_2.htm

Britain's promise to more than double its use of biofuels by 2020 is "significantly" adding to worldwide carbon emissions, the Government admitted yesterday. Britain is signed up to a European guarantee to source 10 per cent of its transport fuel from renewable sources, such as biofuels, within the next 10 years.


But ministers have said that the policy is proving counter-productive and the greenhouse emissions associated with biofuels are substantially greater than the savings. They are now urging the European Commission to rethink the plan. The admission coincides with a major study published this week which concludes that biofuels will create an extra 56 million tons of CO2 per year – the equivalent of 12 to 26 million cars on Europe's roads by 2020.

This is because Europe will need to cultivate an area somewhere between the size of Belgium and the Republic of Ireland with biofuels to meet the target, which can only be done through land conversion – and more controversially, deforestation. The work will be on such a scale that the carbon released from the vegetation, trees and soil will be far greater than those given off by fossil fuels they are designed to replace.

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The study, from the Institute for European Environmental Policy, found that far from being 35 to 50 per cent less polluting, as required by the European Directive, the extra biofuels will be twice as bad for the environment.

First generation biofuels, made from crops such as oilseed rape, sugar cane and palms , were once considered a solution to burning fossil fuels. Such crops, it was argued, would give off the same amount of carbon as they had absorbed when growing – making their use carbon neutral and a key component in reducing global emissions.

Last year Britain signed up to a European Union directive compelling the country to use biofuels to provide 10 per cent of total energy in transport by 2020, as part of a National Renewable Energy Action Plan. But since then, a growing body of scientific evidence has suggested that far from reducing emissions, biofuels may be increasing them.

There is not enough cultivatable land available to grow them in Europe, so forests in South America and Asia are being destroyed to meet European demand. Although under European rules biofuels cannot be bought from "new" agricultural lands such as these, biofuel businesses have got around this by buying up existing land. Forests are then cut down to make up for the loss of agriculture – a trick known as Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC).

Almost all biofuels used in the UK come from sources outside the EU, and the UK is anticipated to be the largest single importer from outside the community in order to reach its targets. In its response to a European consultation on biofuels published yesterday on the Department of Transport's website, the Government said it was time to reassess the policy.

"We consider that the results of the analytical work are compelling in showing that the greenhouse gas emissions from [ILUC] are significant compared to the potential emissions savings from biofuel use. The precise scale is uncertain, [but] this uncertainty cannot be ignored and, as with other aspects of climate change, cannot be a justification for inaction," the statement said.

Environmental charities have long argued that the European Union needs to rethink the target. Last night they welcomed the Government's move.

Tim Rice, ActionAid's biofuels policy advisor, said: "It's welcome that the Government recognises that greenhouse gas emissions from indirect land use change are significant. But now it must urge the European Commission to make sure that this compelling evidence is factored into new legislation."

Sir John Harman, chair of the Institute for European Environmental Policy and a former head of the Environment Agency, said the extent of the biofuels problem was now clear.

"What our report found was for European member states to meet their recently published plans on biofuels, they would have to cultivate an area somewhere between the size of Belgium and the Republic of Ireland. This is not viable and will result in a big Indirect Land Use Change outside the EU," he said.

Last night the Transport Minister Norman Baker said the Government was pushing the European Commission to take action to reduce the risk that producing biofuels will have knock-on effects including deforestation.

"Like other EU member states, the UK is required to source 10 per cent of its transport energy from renewable sources by 2020, however I agree that the environmental benefits of biofuels can only be realised if they are produced in a sustainable way."

Case study: Brazil

Since 2004, the amount of sugar cane grown in Brazil has increased by more than 50 per cent – a figure which is expected to double again by 2018.

The Brazilian government knows that, to open foreign markets to ethanol, it must demonstrate that production does not lead to deforestation. In 2009, it introduced zones for sugar cane expansion – excluding two of Brazil's most biodiverse areas: the Amazon rainforest and Pantanal.

But other agriculture in those zones has been pushed out as a result, into those same areas. When the farmers moved in, trees and other vegetation were burned or cleared to make way for pasture, reducing the capacity to store and sequester carbon.

As the land was cleared, the soil started oxidising, releasing massive amounts of stored carbon. While precise calculations are difficult, emissions from indirect land use change are significant.
Check out using algue on youtube.

Colin Lundy said:

Really interesting stuff about effects of ethanol in engine.

I am not such an expert on the production of ethanol, but to the question of alternatives to corn based ethanol, from what I understand the technology already exists to derive ethanol from anything with cellulose - even waste wood from sawmills. Switchgrass is garnering interest because it is native, and produces huge amounts of biomass with no fertilizers and pesticides needed; it is drought tolerant, and thrives on marginal soil. REAP-Canada has good info on switchgrass for energy production. It is based on heating pellets, but I imagine liquid fuel for running engines is also possible.

http://www.reap-canada.com/bio_and_climate_3_2.htm

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