Consumers and governments around the world are increasingly turning to biofuels as a clean, sustainable fuel source that can help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation fuel. The use of canola biodiesel is already on an upward trend in Canada and Europe, and scientists and governments are quickly seeing the benefits of making use of canola for biofuel.
In October 2018, Energy Minister Jeff Radebe announced that the South African government had plans in place to finalize its biofuels regulatory framework by early 2019, almost a decade after the policy to promote biofuels was approved. The Department of Energy wants oil companies to allow local farmers to farm biofuel products to blend into fuel to make it cleaner and the aim is that biofuels initially meet two percent, or about 400 million litres, of the country’s annual fuel consumption to wean itself off oil imports.
Radebe said the regulatory framework had three pillars. The first is the mandatory purchase of biofuels by licensed petroleum manufacturers in accordance with the Mandatory Blending Regulation of Biofuels with Petrol and Diesel, which came into effect in October 2015.
The second pillar is the Biofuels Feedstock Protocol, which would regulate and approve biofuels feedstock plans in a way that does not compromise food security and prioritises rain-fed crop production. Thirdly, it would publish standards for biofuels in transport fuel, as well as fuel specifications for the blended fuel.
The positive consequence of this announcement for local farmers is that the government’s move to support biofuel production will create an increasing demand for biofuel crops. This can potentially bring about an opportunity for a stable stream of revenue for farmers while also contributing to South Africa’s shift towards cleaner energy.