Ethanol and biodiesel

The most produced biofuels in Québec are ethanol and biodiesel. These biofuels are well known because they are already integrated into traditional fuels to reduce their carbon intensity. They can be found in varying quantities in:

  • gasoline
  • diesel fuel

A changing production

Some production techniques implemented in Québec are called first-generation because they rely on the use of specially grown agricultural materials - for example, the production of ethanol from corn; and biodiesel production from vegetable oils such as soybean or canola oil.

The current approach in Québec is to favour the use of residual and renewable materials for the production of ethanol, biodiesel and other biofuels. These are referred to as second-generation biofuels.

These systems may exploit waste, such as:

  • used cooking oils
  • recycled animal oils
  • forest residues
  • commercial waste (used telephone poles, plastics).

A number of projects of this nature are currently being developed in Québec, in order to make better use of the available residual biomass and meet growing domestic demand.

Increasing the proportion of biofuels

The proportion of biofuels found in commercial fuels varies from country to country. The trend is upward to place more emphasis on renewable fuels and reduce the carbon footprint of our modes of transportation. These greener fuels are often sold at lower prices than conventional fuels.

In Québec, a draft regulation is underway to require Québec distributors of petroleum products to meet, by 2030:

  • a proportion of 15% low-carbon content in gasoline;
  • a proportion of 10% low-carbon content in diesel fuel.

Once implemented, this measure will result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector (personal vehicles, taxis, trucks, buses, etc.).

Last update: May 25, 2022

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