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Bioenergy > Regions > North America > Canada

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Information about biofuels and bioenergy in Canada.











  • Are Biofuels the Best Use of Our Limited Land Resources?, 21 December 2011 by "About seven million tonnes of grain corn was grown in Ontario in 2011, and by year’s end roughly 30 per cent of that is expected to go toward ethanol fuel production."
    • "Let’s focus instead on the use of corn as part of a greenhouse-gas reduction strategy that returns more economic value per harvested bushel. Through this lens, is biofuel production the best use of a renewable but also land-limited resource?"
    • "Corn, after all, doesn’t have to be made into ethanol and burned in the gas tanks of our cars to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. It can also be used to make a variety of 'green' chemicals that form the basis of a wide variety of products currently made from petroleum-based chemicals."
    • "This isn’t just about corn; it’s also about how we choose to use agricultural residues, municipal organic waste, wood waste, algae biomass, and non-food crops."
    • "Does it make sense to just burn this material for energy, or convert it into fuel so it can be burned? Or, should we be doing a better job of targeting niche markets with high-value 'green' products that are just as effective at reducing our dependence on fossil fuels?"[1]
  • Cargill Sets Sights on Worldwide Sustainable Palm Oil by 2020, 13 July 2011 by "Agribusiness giant Cargill plans to only offer palm oil -- an ingredient in Girl Scout cookies and numerous other foods -- that is certified sustainable in select countries by 2015 and worldwide by 2020."
    • "Cargill aims to have all of the palm oil it sells in Europe, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) within the next four years."
    • "Cargill then plans for all palm oil sold in China, India and elsewhere to be RSPO-certified by 2020."
    • "The first goal, however, excludes palm kernel oil, which is produced from the same oil palm trees that palm oil comes from and is used in food products, soaps and other goods."
    • "The Rainforest Action Network, which has been dogging Cargill about its palm oil use, says that while the goals are a good start, the deadlines are too far away, RSPO certification is weak and palm kernel oil shouldn't be left out."
    • "Cargill says, though, that it's trying to be realistic with its goals, and is aiming for achievable targets."[2]
  • Biofuels land grab in Kenya's Tana Delta fuels talk of war, 2 July 2011 by The Guardian: "[E]viction of the [Gamba Manyatta] villagers to make way for a sugar cane plantation is part of a wider land grab going on in Kenya's Tana Delta that is not only pushing people off plots they have farmed for generations, stealing their water resources and raising tribal tensions that many fear will escalate into war, but also destroying a unique wetland habitat that is home to hundreds of rare and spectacular birds."
    • "The irony is that most of the land is being taken for allegedly environmental reasons – to allow private companies to grow water-thirsty sugar cane and jatropha for the biofuels so much in demand in the west, where green legislation, designed to ease carbon dioxide emissions, is requiring they are mixed with petrol and diesel."
    • "The delta's people are trying to fight their own government over the huge blocks of land being turned over to companies including the Canadian company, Bedford Biofuels, which was this year granted a licence by the Kenyan environmental regulator for a 10,000-hectare jatropha 'pilot' project. A UK-based firm, G4 Industries Ltd, has been awarded a licence for 28,000 hectares."[3]
  • Canada mandates 2% biofuel mandate for diesel, heating oil from July 1, 29 June 2011 by Platts: "The Canadian federal government is surging ahead with plans to make 2% biofuel content mandatory in all diesel and heating oil sold in the country from July 1, with some exemptions, Environment Canada announced Wednesday."
    • "With curbing green house gas emissions being the prime driver in issuing the mandate, the announcement said the mandate would bring Canada even closer to its goal of reducing GHG emissions by 17% by 2020, compared to 2005 levels."
    • "The announcement has elicited concerned reactions from the industry, with Stephen Laskowski, senior vice-president for economic and environmental affairs at the Canadian Trucking Alliance, stating that the mandate was issued to 'primarily' help the agricultural industry and would result in a hike diesel fuel cost."
    • "A permanent exemption is being provided for renewable content in diesel fuel and heating distillate oil sold in Newfoundland and Labrador to address the logistical challenges of blending biodiesel, said the Environment Canada announcement, adding that temporary exemptions for renewable content in both diesel fuel and heating distillate oil sold in Quebec and all Atlantic provinces are being provided until December 31, 2012."[4]
  • Turning Garbage Into Car Fuel? Venture Gains Momentum, 1 June 2011 by the New York Times Green blog: "Enerkem, a Montreal company that makes ethanol from old utility poles and household garbage, will announce Wednesday that a major independent oil refiner, Valero, has made its first investment in the company, and Waste Management, a trash-hauling company is raising its stake. With $60 million in new financing, total investment in Enerkem will reach $130 million."
    • "In Edmonton, the company has a 25-year contract to accept municipal solid waste, which means anything a household throws out. After separating out recyclable materials, it shreds the waste and heats it to around 400 degrees Celsius, or about 750 degrees Fahrenheit."
    • "At that temperature, the waste gives off a gas that includes hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Enerkem scrubs out the impurities, including carbon dioxide, and runs the gas over a catalyst, which converts it to methanol. The methanol can be turned into ethanol or a variety of other chemical feedstocks."
    • "Many companies are trying to use waste materials to make ethanol. Almost all of them pay for the raw materials, but Enerkem is paid to dispose of the garbage, making its feedstock 'cost-negative,' in the company’s phrase."
    • 'And making ethanol from garbage entails sharply lower carbon dioxide emissions than making it from corn does. Corn ethanol needs large amounts of natural gas, but the Enerkem process relies on the heat given off by the process itself so that no fossil fuels are burned except during the start-up. What is more, trash turned into fuel is trash that is not buried in a landfill, where it can give off methane, itself a potent global warming gas."[5]
  • Survey Says Consumers Consider Ethanol A Green Product, 23 May 2011 by "In a study released by Genencor during the BIO World Congress in Toronto, when U.S. consumers were asked to name a product they considered green, 39 percent of them named ethanol first and 31 percent of Canadian respondents also named ethanol as a green product."
    • "In addition, the study found that four in 10 American consumers and about a third of Canadian consumers have already heard the term 'biobased' to describe various products including fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, as well as cleaning and personal care products and clothing."
    • "'It was very interesting to see that ethanol was at the top of the list. Now of course we were very pleased with that because ethanol is such an important product and such an important marketplace for us,' said Tjerk de Ruiter, CEO of Genencor. 'But it also shows that the consumer really starts to buy in to the concept of the importance of home produced fuels and really the contribution that ethanol is delivering to the economy.'"[6]
  • Cattle ranchers encouraged to work with ethanol industry, 16 April 2011 by Troy Media: "Cattle prices [in Canada] have increased recently, but all is not well in the industry. The improving price can largely be attributed to demand recovering after a sharp reduction in herd sizes."
    • "Some of the industry’s woes have been attributed to government support of the ethanol industry, which has been accused of bidding up the price of corn. It might sound odd then to hear that many regions in the U.S. are encouraging cattle ranchers to work with the ethanol industry in order to lower their own costs and keep their industry healthy."
    • "An ethanol plant grinds corn into a powder and adds water and enzymes to break down the starch. The remaining solids that are left over from the process are called distilled grains and soluble (DGS), which are then dried to be used as animal feed that is very high in energy and protein relative to corn."
    • "The key point is that feedlots located near ethanol plants will have a significant cost savings advantages. This doesn’t only come from the reduction in the need to compete with ethanol producers for corn, it also reduces the need to purchase another expensive input, soybean meal (although there are minor added expenses related to the management of manure)."[7]


  • GBEP Newsletter Highlights Progress on Sustainability Indicators for Bioenergy, 1 July 2010 by "The Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) has published its eighth newsletter, which discusses, inter alia, the recent G8 Summit in Muskoka, Canada, GBEP’s new partners, and new online resources for greenhouse gas (GHG) measurement."
    • "The newsletter opens by noting that G8 leaders renewed GBEP’s mandate, highlighting the need for further progress on sustainability indicators and criteria, and capacity building efforts. The newsletter further highlights that, concerning sustainability indicators, the GBEP Task Force on Sustainability has recently reached agreement in a number of areas including economic, energy security, social and environmental aspects. This is contrasted, however, with hurdles that remain in the areas of food security, government support, trade, land rights and national legal, policy and institutional frameworks."[8]
      • See the GBEP newsletter here
  • BC Hydro seeks biomass projects, 21 April 2010 by Northern Sentinel (Canada): "BC Hydro has issued a request for qualifications for innovative, community-based biomass projects."
    • "The utility is seeking projects no larger than five megawatts that produce electricity from carbon-neutral biomass sources and create local or regional economic benefits."[9]
  • Canadian government orders biofuels study, April 2010 by Holly Jessen, Ethanol Producers Magazine: "Environment Canada solicited companies to complete an assessment of the ecological footprint of biofuel production facilities in Canada."
    • "The Canadian government is following through with its commitment to establish regulations for renewable fuels in the fuel supply....'The strategy requires 5 percent renewable content of gasoline by 2010,' [a] spokesperson said. 'Canada also intends to implement a requirement for 2 percent renewable content in diesel fuel and heating oil by 2011, or earlier, subject to technical feasibility.'"
    • "Not long after Environment Canada called for companies to submit proposals for the study, the Canadian government passed out funding to 16 clean technology companies. Sustainable Development Technology Canada announced $58 million in funding, $13 million of which was earmarked for proposed cellulosic ethanol plant projects."[10]


  • Dead Forests to Fuel Vehicles, 15 September 2009 by CleanTechnica: "The University of Georgia Research Foundation has developed an innovative way to turn dead trees into a liquid fuel and has licensed it to Tolero Energy in California. We could be driving on our dead forests as soon as 2010."
    • "Infestations of the mountain pine beetle have devastated forests in the western United States and Canada, killing over 40 million acres of pine trees. As the trees decompose and decay, they release millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, and the devastation has created a significant and dangerous fire hazard in the western forests."[11]
  • A New North American Consensus in Biofuels, 18 February 2009 by MSNBC:
    • "As America and Canada look for ways to provide economic opportunity, reduce the impacts of climate change, and develop renewable energy sources, the role of biofuels in the energy plans of both nations is becoming increasingly important. Both nations are investing in alternatives to imported oil."
    • "Paralleling efforts in the U.S. to expand the use of ethanol, the Canadian Parliament last year passed a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requiring gasoline sold in Canada to contain an average of 5% renewable content, including ethanol, and 2% renewable content, including biodiesel, in the diesel supply.'
    • "Finally, based on a number of recent studies, it is clear that renewable fuels using both grains and cellulosic feedstocks are better for the environment than gasoline."


  • Trash Becomes Ethanol in Major Canadian Alt-Fuel Move, 15 December 2008 by The Cutting Edge:
    • "Edmonton has an aggressive trash reduction program with 60 percent of all solid waste being recycled or composted. What’s new is that they intend to improve that figure by taking an additional 30 percent of their waste stream and making ethanol."
    • "The city expects to put 75,000 tons of waste into the process annually and get back nearly seven and a half million gallons of ethanol. The payback on the $70 million investment should come very quickly, even with the currently depressed oil prices—perhaps in as little as seven to ten years." [12]
  • Environmental groups expose Biofuel technology threats to Global Biodiversity, 15 September 2008 Press Release in The Canadian: The Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) and the STOP GE Trees Campaign issued a press release in opposition to the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) conference held in Vancouver, BC.
    • "'We want no part of this nightmarish future where trees are genetically engineered to fill our gas tanks,' said Tony Beck of the Society for a GE Free BC."[13]
  • Biofuel buses could hit end of line, 26 August 2008 by the Globe and Mail: "Amid concerns over rising fuel costs and the growing worldwide debate over the environmental benefits of biofuels, Toronto's transit agency will consider abandoning the use of biodiesel for its massive bus fleet."[14]
  • Shell boosts stake in Iogen cellulosic ethanol, 15 July 2008 by Reuters: "Oil major Royal Dutch Shell Plc said on Tuesday it will make a 'significant investment' in a venture it has with Canadian cellulosic ethanol maker Iogen Corp."
    • "Iogen, which is also backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc, has run a demonstration plant in Ottawa since 2004 that can produce about 2.5 million liters of ethanol a year from the plant stalks that are left behind after farmers harvest crops."
    • "It is planning to open a C$500-million ($500 million) commercial-scale plant in Saskatchewan, Canada's largest wheat-producing province, in 2011. That plant would produce about 90 million liters (23.78 million U.S. gallons) of ethanol a year."[16]
  • Iogen Nixes Idaho for Ethanol Plant, Picks Saskatchewan, May 9 2008 by Canadian Press:
    • "For the last two years, Iogen had leaned toward building a cellulosic ethanol facility near the community of Shelley, near where farmers already are under contract to provide the wheat and barley straw, corn leaves and stalks, and switch grass used to produce ethanol."
    • "A U.S. Department of Energy spending package included loan guarantees and an US $80 million grant for the project, estimated in 2006 to cost up to US $350 million. But in March, the Canadian government announced it had allocated $500 million for projects to build next-generation biofuels plants in Canada." [17]
  • British Columbia launches new bioenergy strategy,1 February 2008, Biofuel Review. The provincial government hopes this new strategy will help achieve its goal of energy self-sufficiency by 2016 as well as generating new jobs, investment, and innovation.


  • B.C. looks to tree debris for electricity. 18 December, 2007, according to the province is weighing policies that would reward companies for purchasing wood waste from logging and other activities to use as feedstock for electrical power.
  • "Canada sets biofuels legislation" from Biofuels International, 14 December 2007. "The Canadian government is reintroducing legislation that will set a minimum biofuels content in petroleum and diesel fuel within three to five years."



Governmental organizations

Nongovernmental organizations


Go here for Canadian companies

  • Canadian Bioenergy: An integrated biodiesel company in Canada. The company is active in:
    • Pre-engineering and final feasibility for a 114 million litre per year (30 MMGY) biodiesel production facility adjacent to Bunge Canada's oilseed crushing plant in Sturgeon County, Alberta (near Edmonton).
    • Strategic partnering with oilseed growers and processors to secure long term supply of feedstocks for our biodiesel production plants.
  • Regional distribution and sales of biodiesel, and blended diesel-biodiesel products, from terminal hubs in Vancouver, BC and Calgary, AB.
    • Expansion of regional distribution and sales network of biodiesel products.
    • Partnering with petroleum distributors to make biodiesel widely available in western Canada through distribution and offtake agreements.
  • Lignol Energy Corporation - A western Canadian company, Lignol plans to build biorefineries for ethanol and co-products produced from Canadian forests. The Company has acquired and modified a solvent based pre-treatment technology originally developed by a subsidiary of General Electric (“GE”). Lignol also acquired the original GE pilot plant that is now being integrated with recently developed process capabilities to convert cellulose to ethanol.


  • Canadian Bioenergy Association (CANBIO) - "CANBIO is a national, industry-driven, non-profit organization of individuals, businesses and non-governmental organizations interested in the development, promotion and use of bioenergy."


See books, reports, scientific papers, position papers and websites for additional useful resources.


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