Canola: The Perfect Candidate for Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel

Biodiesel is a type of biofuel that can be used in diesel engines. Throughout its lifecycle, canola biodiesel is a cleaner fuel for the trucks and heavy machinery that fuel the Canadian economy.

Biodiesel is produced from oils, such as canola, soy, palm and even used cooking oil. It is different from ethanol, which is an alcohol product produced from corn and other sources and is primarily used in gasoline engines.

Canola oil is made into biodiesel through a refinery process called transesterification. The oil is mixed with alcohol to remove the glycerin. Pure canola biodiesel can be blended in any proportion with petroleum diesel. The most common blends are 2% (B2), 5% (B5) and 20% (B20).

Canola biodiesel production lifecycle

Canola makes the perfect feedstock for biodiesel and renewable diesel because it’s:


  • Canola-based biofuels are proven to work and are already delivering tangible emissions reductions now in Canada, the US, and the EU.

  • Current Canadian renewable fuel mandates have already reduced annual carbon emissions by 4.4 mega-tonne CO2 equivalentsM.[3]


  • Canola biodiesel helps reduce GHG lifecycle emissions by up to 90% compared to fossil diesel.[4]

  • The CO2 released by a vehicle when canola biodiesel is burned is offset by the CO2 captured when the crop is grown.  This is different from diesel which is refined from petroleum extracted from the earth.


  • Canadian canola growers are world leaders in sustainable practices. Adopting innovation has allowed Canadian growers to use fewer inputs while increasing yields on every acre.[5]

  • Conservation and no-till farming practices increase efficiency and reduce on-farm fuel use, preserve soil quality and moisture, reduce erosion and boost in-soil carbon sequestration.


  • Canola-based biofuels can begin delivering emissions reductions now to help meet climate change commitments – in Canada and beyond.

  • Canadian canola farmers are producing more than enough canola to easily accommodate any increased demand created by an enhanced renewable mandate. In the last 10 years, production has doubled and is set to increase by an additional 40% or 8 million tonnes by 2025.[6] This will be on virtually the same amount of land currently used for canola production. If the Canadian renewable diesel mandate was increased to 5% and all additional renewable diesel was produced from canola, this would require only 1.9 million tonnes of canola.

[3] Wolinetz, M., Hein, M. 2017. Biofuels in Canada 2017, Tracking biofuel consumption, feedstocks and avoided greenhouse gas emissions. Navius Research Inc. ii,15, 22. 

[4] O’Connor, D. 2011. Lifecycle Analysis Canola Biodiesel, (S&T)2 Consultants Inc. 22, Available at:

[5] Canola Council of Canada. 2016. Canadian Canola Biotechnology. 14-15, Available at:

[6] Canola Council of Canada. 2014. Keep it Coming 2025 – the industry's strategic plan for sustainable growth. Available at: