ICCT in the media

Canada’s largest renewable diesel plant will turn canola oil into fuel

[Canada’s National Observer, 1/21/2022]

The ideal feedstock for biofuel is waste oil because it doesn’t impact food production. However, there isn’t nearly enough of that around, so most biofuel projects require palms, soybeans or, in Canada’s case, canola to be grown and harvested specifically to make fuel. That can mean deforestation and higher emissions, said Searle. For this reason, she said producing more renewable and biodiesel won’t get us to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Last summer, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act became law and enshrined Canada’s commitment to either emit no greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or offset those emissions with things like tree-planting or carbon capture technology.

“We’re already pretty much maxing out the benefits that we can get from renewable diesel and biodiesel because most of the potential of waste oils that we could be using, we’re already using,” said Searle. In the U.S., there is not enough feedstock — from waste or crops — to keep pace with the renewable diesel projects planned or underway, and Searle predicts many will be cancelled or operate at low-capacity. But if even a third of the new projects proceed, demand will skyrocket, and that feedstock must either come out of the food supply, force domestic crops to expand, drive up imports, expand palm oil production in Southeast Asia where deforestation runs rampant or all of the above, a new ICCT report found.