July 28, 2004

Canada passenger boats in biodiesel demonstration project

Partners in Canada's BioMer project have announced a C$563,000 (US$423,000) project to demonstrate that biodiesel is a viable alternative fuel for marine vessels

The project will test the use of pure biodiesel (B100) as a fuel supply for a fleet of various types and sizes of passenger vessels operating in two very tourist-intensive areas: the Old Port of Montréal and the Lachine Canal National Historic Site.

The 12 boats being used in the BioMer project belong to the following four companies.

Docking at the Old Port of Montréal: - Croisières AML (3 boats) - Lachine Rapids Tours - Jet Boating Montréal (7 boats) - The Bateau-Mouche (1 boat)

Docking at the Atwater Market dock, Lachine Canal National Historic Site: - Lachine Canal Cruise (1 boat)

During the demonstration project, 254,000 liters of biodiesel will be required to fuel the BioMer fleet: 11 boats on pure biodiesel (B100) and one on a 5-percent blend (B5).

This will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 593 tonnes over the duration of the project, equivalent to the quantity produced by 119 vehicles driven 20,000 kilometres each for one year.

The vessels began using the fuel on June 23, 2004, and will stop in October 2004.

In addition to measuring emissions, the BioMer project will highlight the impact of biodiesel (a fuel made from vegetable oil, recycled cooking oil or animal fats) on marine engine performance and river ecology.

The Government of Canada will allocate a total of $C323,000 (US$242,000) to the project through a partnership that includes Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada.

"The use of cleaner alternative fuels like biodiesel is an integral part of Canada's strategy to address climate change," said R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada. "The BioMer project will help us assess the environmental, economic and social benefits of using biodiesel in Canada and will promote market acceptance of renewable fuels like biodiesel."

"This project is an excellent example of the development and deployment of next-generation technologies required to make the large emissions reductions needed to successfully address climate change over the long term," said Stéphane Dion, Minister of Environment Canada. "It also helps position Canada's long-term competitiveness in the burgeoning global market for environmental technology."

"The BioMer project represents a major technological breakthrough and showcases the R&D work conducted in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region in marine science and technology. Innovation in biofuels is positioning Canada as a world leader in the area of effective green industry," said Jacques Saada, Minister of Canada Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Francophonie.

At the provincial level, both the Quebec Environment and Transport departments have supported the BioMer project with a total of $25,000. (US$18,700)

Speaking for the Government of Quebec, Environment Minister Thomas J. Mulcair said, "I am delighted to see that biodiesel's positive impact on reducing greenhouse gas and other polluting emissions, which the BIOBUS project demonstrated earlier for mass transit, is now being tested in the maritime transport sector. Furthermore, since biodiesel has the advantage of turning agro-industry waste into an asset, it is promising both from an environmental and economic standpoint."

Two of the project's key initiators are the Sine Nomine Group and Maritime Innovation's Technology Transfer Center.

Maritime Innovation is a center for applied research in maritime technology created by the Institut maritime du Québec (IMQ). Its purpose is to provide technical solutions to the challenges encountered by professionals in the maritime industry. Maritime Innovation is a not-for-profit corporation with financial support from Canada Economic Development, the Ministère du développement éonomique régional (MDER), the Conseil régional de concertation et de développement (CRCD) of the Lower St. Lawrence region, and the Institut maritime du Québec (IMQ).

"By demonstrating that it is technically feasible and commercially viable to use biodiesel in the maritime sector, the BioMer project helps to develop innovative expertise in greenhouse gas reduction and to create a new industry with potential applications on the national and international level," pointed out Maritime Innovation CEO Jacques Paquin.

According to Camil Lagacé, BioMer Project Director and President of the Sine Nomine Group, the project was well received from the beginning. "All partners enthusiastically agreed to participate. Their commitment to the environment and their determination to take tangible steps to reduce emissions and preserve water quality along the Seaway are proof that biodiesel is of interest to the cruise industry."

Rothsay, a subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods located in Ville Sainte- Catherine that specializes in the recycling of agro-industry wastes, will produce the pure biodiesel and supply the fuel during the project.

The 12 boats being used in the BioMer project belong to the following four companies.

Docking at the Old Port of Montréal: - Croisières AML (3 boats) - Lachine Rapids Tours - Jet Boating Montréal (7 boats) - The Bateau-Mouche (1 boat)

Docking at the Atwater Market dock, Lachine Canal National Historic Site: - Lachine Canal Cruise (1 boat)

During the demonstration project, 254,000 liters of biodiesel will be required to fuel the BioMer fleet: 11 boats on pure biodiesel (B100) and one on a 5-percent blend (B5).

This will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 593 tonnes over the duration of the project, equivalent to the quantity produced by 119 vehicles driven 20,000 kilometres each for one year.

The vessels began using the fuel on June 23, 2004, and will stop in October 2004.

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