Ontario Proposal Aims to Double Ethanol Blend in Fuel
by John Greig (Manitoba Co-operator) An Ontario government proposal could dramatically increase the amount of Ontario corn going into ethanol production and help bring consistency to the basis price for corn in the province.
The government has posted its proposal to increase ethanol content in the province’s gasoline from five to 10 per cent to the Environmental Bill of Rights registry, which will result in public consultations on the proposal.
The government is motivated to increase the ethanol requirement for gasoline because gasoline burned in cars with ethanol results in lower greenhouse gas emissions, and press releases from Grain Farmers of Ontario and Renewable Industries Canada (RIC), which represents ethanol producers, reflected that reality. The policy would at the same time have significant effects on rural Ontario.
Creating 500 million litres more ethanol in the province will require a lot more corn. Brock and Grey expect most of the increased corn volume to come from yield growth, versus more corn acres.
“Corn yields not going anywhere but up,” says Grey. “I’ve been in this industry many years and if you look at total acres of corn over last long period of time, they have not changed dramatically, but yields and overall production continues to go up. There’s no reason why we can’t supply the increase with Ontario corn in short order.”
“We should see more consistency in price,” says Brock, as there will be more steady demand for corn. “It should help on the basis side of things.”
Both Brock and Grey are optimistic that the government proposal will become policy, despite what is likely to be some opposition. There are concerns about using land which could be used to grow food to grow crops for fuel, as well as debate over the lifecycle greenhouse gas emission levels of ethanol.
Grey says that the lifecycle modelling for ethanol climate impact used by the provincial and federal government is the accepted standard. According to RIC, that shows a reduction of 62 per cent in greenhouse gases when ethanol is used instead of gasoline. READ MORE