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An increase in renewable diesel production over the next five years is expected to boost demand for canola, the Alberta Farmer Express reports the Canadian Oilseeds Processors Association as saying.

“For canola crush, in terms of possible capacity growth in the years to come, we could see almost 6M tonnes of increased capacity based on facilities that are either under construction today or have been announced,” Chris Vervaet, the association’s executive director, was quoted as saying at an online event during Canola Week.

“That’s significant growth from the current capacity – a 50% increase,” he added.

While Canadian production of renewable diesel was low at the time of the 27 December report, it was expected to reach 1bn litres by 2024, 2bn litres the following year and almost 4.5bn litres by 2027, Vervaet said during his online presentation.

Projects due to come on stream included Parkland Corporation’s expansion of renewable diesel production at its refinery in Burnaby and Imperial Oil’s renewable diesel complex at its refinery near Edmonton that would produce more than 1bn litres/year once operational, he said.

Meanwhile, production capacity was increasing even faster in the USA, Vervaet said, alongside growing demand for renewable diesel.

“There are a lot of biofuel policies that are driving demand over the next decade or so,” he said, adding that this has already led to a production boom in the USA.

“Two years ago, there was 2.5bn litres of production capacity. This year, that’s already roughly tripled. We see it now at 7.6bn litres.”

Although renewable diesel feedstocks included vegetable oils (including soyabean oil and used cooking oils) and animal fats, Vervaet said he expected a major expansion of canola production in North America, possibly by 50% or more.

Some of that expansion could come from moving into the brown soil zones of Canada and growing winter varieties in the USA, he said.