CRFA, RFA highlight biofuels consensus

By Susanne Retka Schill | February 04, 2009
Web exclusive posted Feb. 23, 2009, at 10:52 a.m. CST

Just prior to U.S. President Barack Obama's visit with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Feb. 19, leaders of the U.S. Renewable Fuels Association and Canadian Renewable Fuels Association issued a joint statement commending both leaders for their support of renewable energy and the opportunity that both nations have in addressing energy needs.

"Renewable fuels offer a tremendous opportunity for our respective countries, the western Hemisphere, and indeed the world to make tangible progress in replacing our fossil fuel use with cleaner, locally-produced renewable energy. The potential of renewable fuels technology to help provide energy, economic, and environmental security is something that must be aggressively pursued," said Canadian Renewable Fuels Association President Gordon Quaiattini and U.S. Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen in a joint statement.

The statement highlighted investments in both countries towards finding alternatives to imported oil. "For his part, President Obama is pushing for a comprehensive and ambitious plan to invest in alternative and renewable energy to diversify the North American fuel supply, address climate change, and create green manufacturing jobs and a new green economy. The biofuels industry has been in the forefront of creating green jobs for decades," Dinneen and Quaiattini said in the statement.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Parliament last year passed a renewable fuel standard (RFS) requiring gasoline sold in Canada to contain an average of 5 percent renewable content, including ethanol; and the diesel supply to contain 2 percent renewable content, including biodiesel. "We are pleased that in both our countries there is a strong policy recognition of the need to substitute cleaner, renewable fuels for oil imports and other finite hydrocarbons," the leaders said.

Renewable fuels provide a major source of economic opportunity, creating green jobs and economic development. "Perhaps most excitingly, renewable fuels will spark economic hope for our farm families and forestry sector - which will provide the feedstocks for new fuels that we harvest, rather than extract," they said.

They also pointed to the role renewable fuels play in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, citing a newly published work in the Journal of Industrial Ecology that noted today's ethanol technology reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 59 percent when compared to gasoline. "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," said Dinneen and Quaiattini. Pointing to a study by Sandia National Laboratories that found by itself the U.S. could produce 90 billion gallons a year by 2030, and adding in Canadian production potential, the CRFA and RFA project North American biofuel production will be able to replace a majority of oil imports.