Renewable Fuels Standard

About Alberta's Renewable Fuels Standard

Alberta’s Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) requires commercial fuel producers to blend renewable products into their fuels. The RFS requires an average of five per cent renewable alcohol in gasoline and two per cent renewable diesel in diesel fuel sold in Alberta.

To meet the RFS, renewable fuels must demonstrate at least 25 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the equivalent petroleum fuel.

Legislation or Legal Mandate for this Program

Alberta's Renewable Fuels Standard is defined and mandated through the Renewable Fuels Standard Regulation, an associated Regulation for the provincial Climate Change and Emissions Management Act. For more information, see:

RFS Forms and Reports

Access forms, reports and other documents related to the Renewable Fuels Standard Program at:

How the Renewable Fuels Standard Works

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What are renewable fuels?

Renewable fuels are made from biological sources, such as grains, canola, corn, cellulose from plant fibres, switch grass and straw, and forestry and livestock waste products.

What is a renewable fuels standard (RFS) and what is the requirement?

A RFS is a government requirement to blend renewable fuels such as ethanol or biodiesel into fuels that are sold to customers like gasoline and diesel.

Alberta’s Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) requires an average of two per cent renewable diesel in diesel fuel and five per cent renewable alcohol in gasoline sold in Alberta.

Renewable fuels used to meet the RFS must demonstrate at least 25 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the equivalent petroleum fuel.

How does the renewable fuels standard benefit Alberta?

The RFS will help Alberta meet its climate change targets and has a number of environmental advantages:

  • The RFS will reduce carbon dioxide and monoxide emissions and smog-creating compounds.
  • The use of renewable fuels has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about one million tonnes each year. New more efficient technologies will further reduce GHG emissions, that is equivalent to taking 260,000 vehicles off Alberta's roads each year.
  • Renewable fuels (RF) are biodegradable.
  • The production of RF has less energy use, reduced water and improved technologies for the use of waste.
  • Alberta currently produces 20 million tonnes of waste each year. Emerging technologies have the potential to convert this waste to bioenergy products, including renewable fuels.

The RFS will help the province meets its climate change targets and support Alberta's renewable fuels sector by encouraging development of renewable energy and facilitate a market for the consumption of renewable fuels.

The RFS will also encourage research and development of technologies for ethanol production from forestry biomass and conversion of waste to energy.

What type of renewable fuel production will Alberta be supporting?

The Alberta RFS pertains to diesel produced from renewable materials as well as renewable fuel alcohols such as ethanol used in gasoline. These products may be produced using traditional technologies or emerging technologies, that use advanced chemical and biological processes to improve efficiency and yield.

What impact will renewable fuels have on food prices?

A number of factors contribute to the price of food. Alberta currently only consumes about 1.2 per cent of available grains and oilseeds in the manufacturing of renewable fuel in the province. As a result, grain for fuel use in Alberta is not expected to have any impact on the price of food.

In addition, the vast majority of bioenergy in Alberta is produced from either waste or forestry biomass.

This trend is expected to continue with future growth and adoption of emerging technologies, such as gasification of municipal solid waste or ethanol production from woody biomass.

It is generally understood that the price of oil, and not corn prices or ethanol production, have the greatest impact on consumer food prices. Energy is part of every phase of food production from processing to packaging to transportation.

How will a renewable fuels standard affect feed for livestock?

Alberta typically imports feed grains from Saskatchewan. By producing ethanol in Alberta, a by-product called distiller’s grain is produced. Distiller’s grain is a good source of feed and can be included readily in various livestock diets. In fact, the integration of ethanol facilities with livestock operations can be complementary.

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Updated: Mar 10, 2016