Feedstock of Choice

Biodiesel can be made from a variety of feedstock, including vegetable oil, animal fats or recycled restaurant grease.

In Canada, it makes sense to make biodiesel from canola because of important advantages:

  • Proven technology and demand
  • High oil content
  • Superior flow in cold weather
  • Oxidative stability
  • Quality standards
  • Carbon sequestration

Proven technology and demand

Canola biodiesel is already widely used in Europe, which is expected to produce more than 7.3 billion liters of biodiesel from vegetable oil in 2012. In the EU, rapeseed and canola are the foundation feedstock for biodiesel.

High oil content

Canola produces more oil per unit of seed than other oilseeds. That means biodiesel producers realize greater efficiencies from canola than seeds with lower oil contents, notably soybeans.

Superior flow in cold weather

Canola oil has the lowest level of saturated fat. That helps canola biodiesel perform better in cold weather. Canola biodiesel has a very low Cloud Point (the temperature at which small crystals form in the fuel).

Type of Biodiesel         
Cloud Point
Edible tallow 19˚C
Soybean 3˚C
Canola -3˚C

Oxidative stability

Canola oil has a low iodine value, which means it is more stable and less prone to oxidation. This quality reduces the likelihood of corrosive acids and deposits that can increase wear in engine fuel pumps and fuel injectors.  The iodine value of canola oil is 114, versus more than 130 for soybean oil.

Quality standards

All canola varieties grown in Canada meet oil content standards set by the Western Canada Canola/Rapeseed Recommending Committee. This track record is the foundation for developing biodiesel standards that will assure consistent quality to Original Equipment Manufacturers, fuel suppliers and users. Our industry’s commitment to quality will help Canadian biodiesel makers avoid problems that have been experienced elsewhere.

Carbon sequestration

Making biodiesel from canola helps to reduce greenhouse gases in more ways than one. As it grows, canola helps to sequester carbon in the soil. The amount of carbon released during production is limited by the reduced tillage practices commonly used by growers. As more farmers begin to use biodiesel, the energy balance for canola biodiesel only improves.