Canola’s contribution as a solutions-provider in helping to address climate change was recently recognized, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed decision that canola oil-derived renewable diesel, jet fuel and other biofuels qualify as “advanced biofuels” under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

The proposed decision found that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from renewable diesel, jet fuel and other fuels derived from canola oil were more than 50 per cent lower than petroleum-based fuels.

“Canola-based biofuels offer tangible emissions reductions, largely because growers have such a strong track record of sustainable production practices,” says Jim Everson, Canola Council of Canada (CCC) president. Canola-based biofuels have among the lowest carbon footprints in the world, reducing lifecycle GHG emissions by up to 90 per cent compared to fossil diesel.

“This is a positive step forward in securing a canola oil pathway in the growing U.S. renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel markets, putting canola on a level playing field with other oilseed crops,” he added. “In addition to the environmental benefits, this will also help diversify markets and support value added processing, creating opportunities for the entire canola sector.”

A statement from The White House noted that “This action demonstrates EPA’s commitment to approving new petitions for renewable fuels that can provide greenhouse gas benefits as well as reduce reliance on petroleum fuels.”

The CCC worked in coordination with the Canadian Oilseed Processors Association on a U.S. Canola Association petition to the EPA in 2020 to approve canola oil as a feedstock for renewable diesel, jet fuel and other biofuels.

Renewable diesel and renewable jet fuel are chemically similar to petroleum and are increasingly used in existing vehicles and aircraft to help decarbonize the transportation sector.