Biodiesel Farm Study and Regulations:
Farm Producers’ Frequently Asked Questions
This booklet offers answers to questions about the Off-Road Biodiesel Demonstration - Agriculture Sector study and about the coming biodiesel regulations.
Who conducted the Off-Road Biodiesel Demonstration Agriculture Sector Study?
The study was conducted by the Saskatchewan Research Council in consultation with agriculture and transportation industry groups. The study was part of the federal government’s National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiative.
Where was the study conducted, and what equipment were the operators using?
The study was conducted at Foam Lake, Saskatchewan from August 2009 to November 2010. It included eight farmers using over 50 pieces of farm equipment, ranging from sub-100-horsepower yard tractors to +500-horsepower, 4-wheel drive tractors, fueled with blends containing from 2% to 10% canola-based biodiesel. A wide range of combines and swathers and several engine brands and types were represented.
Is there a risk of a biodiesel blend damaging my equipment?
In the study, none of the farmers had biodiesel-related equipment problems.
Does biodiesel perform well in cold weather?
The study found that canola-based biodiesel blends perform well through all seasons. During the study period, temperatures ranged from -36°C to 31°C.
Does a biodiesel blend require more equipment maintenance than regular diesel?
Biodiesel-blended fuel was incorporated into the participants' existing farm operations with no modifications to equipment, fuel storage facilities, or fuel handling practices.
Will biodiesel perform well in older equipment?
In the study, farmers using equipment more than 40 years old had no biodiesel-related equipment problems.
What about newer equipment with electronic fuel injection and emission systems?
Biodiesel specifications were developed with input from farming equipment manufacturers to ensure that biodiesel does not cause issues with electronic fuel injection and emission systems. For this reason, using up to 5% biodiesel blends will not compromise equipment warranties.
Can I leave a biodiesel blend in my tanks over the winter?
The study found that canola-based biodiesel blends perform well even when left in tanks from harvest end to harvest beginning the following year.
Was water in storage tanks an issue in the study?
The tractors, combines, swathers and storage tanks were tested regularly and none had an excessive build-up of water or sediments.
Were the on-farm storage tanks used in the study new or modified in any way?
Most of the tanks were older, with many more than 20 years old, and none were modified. Study participants indicated that they practiced no tank maintenance beyond a change of filter if the tank used filters.
Will there always be 2% biodiesel in the fuel I buy, or will the percentage vary?
The current regulations require an average blend of 2%. Actual percentages may therefore vary across regions of the country and by season (the percentage will likely be higher in the summer than in the winter). The equipment in the Off-Road Biodiesel Demonstration - Agriculture Sector study was fueled with blends containing up to 10% biodiesel. If farmers have questions about biodiesel levels in the fuel they are buying, they should talk to their fuel suppliers.
Why is the government requiring that I use a biodiesel blend?
The requirement for 2% renewable fuel in diesel and heating oil in Canada, combined with provincial regulations, will reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to four megatonnes—the equivalent of taking one million vehicles off the road. Biodiesel is produced from renewable resources, helping to conserve Canada’s non-renewable resources.
When are suppliers required to include biodiesel in the diesel they sell?
The Renewable Fuels Regulations, published in the Canada Gazette on September 1, 2010, require an average of 2% renewable content in diesel fuel and heating oil. The Government of Canada has proposed a coming into force date of July 1, 2011 for the regulations, which are part of Canada’s Renewable Fuels Strategy.
Can I get a copy of the study?
The study can be downloaded from the Saskatchewan Research Council web site (www.src.sk.ca/biodieseldemo).