Renewable fuels

Learn about renewable fuels and the benefits of Alberta’s Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).


Renewable fuels are made from biological sources, such as:

  • canola
  • cellulose from plant fibres
  • corn
  • forestry and livestock waste products
  • grains
  • switch grass and straw


Emerging technologies have the potential to convert Alberta’s waste materials to bioenergy products, including renewable fuels.

The RFS will:

  • help the province meet its climate change targets and support Alberta’s renewable fuels sector by encouraging development of renewable energy and facilitate a market for the consumption of renewable fuels
  • reduce carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions and smog-creating compounds
  • encourage research and development of technologies for renewable fuel production from forestry biomass and conversion of waste to energy

Additional environmental advantages:

  • renewable fuels are biodegradable
  • the production of renewable fuels can have less energy use, reduced water and improved technologies for the use of waste
  • the use of renewable fuels has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by about one million tonnes each year (equivalent to taking 260,000 vehicles off Alberta's roads each year); new, more efficient technologies will further reduce GHG emissions

Impacts of the RFS

Impact on food prices

A number of factors contribute to the price of food. Alberta currently only consumes about 1.2% of available grains and oilseeds in the manufacturing of renewable fuel in the province. As a result, grain for fuel use in Alberta is not expected to have any significant impact on the price of food.

In addition, the vast majority of bioenergy in Alberta is produced from either waste or forestry biomass. This trend is expected to continue with future growth and adoption of emerging technologies, such as gasification of municipal solid waste or ethanol production from woody biomass.

The price of oil, and not corn prices or ethanol production, has the greatest impact on consumer food prices. Energy is part of every phase of food production, from processing, to packaging to transportation.

Effect on feed for livestock

Alberta typically imports feed grains from Saskatchewan. By producing ethanol in Alberta, a by-product called distiller’s grain is produced. Distiller’s grain is a good source of feed and can be included readily in various livestock diets. The integration of ethanol facilities with livestock operations can be complementary.


Connect with the RFS program:
Email: [email protected]