Media Centre
2005/11/21

Rothsay opens Canada's first commercial-scale biodiesel plant

Major milestone in availability of environmentally friendly fuel

MONTREAL, Nov. 21, 2005 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX News Network) -- Rothsay, a division of Maple Leaf Foods Inc., today announced the commissioning of Canada's first commercial-scale biodiesel plant. The new facility has the capacity to produce 35 million litres of biodiesel annually and is located in Ville Ste. Catherine on Montreal's South Shore.

Rothsay biodiesel is a unique renewable fuel made by converting animal fats and recycled cooking oils into an environmentally sustainable alternative fuel that reduces harmful greenhouse gases, and can be used in all diesel engines today without modification. Rothsay biodiesel is made using a process pioneered and developed at the plant in Montreal.

"With this new state of the art plant, biodiesel is going big in Canada," said Scott McCain, President and Chief Operating Officer, Agribusiness Group, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. "This plant is the first in the country to produce biodiesel on a large scale, marking an important milestone in the diversification from conventional fossil fuels to environmentally friendly fuels."

According to Natural Resources Canada data, the 35 million litres of biodiesel that will be produced at Rothsay's Ville Ste. Catherine plant is equal to taking 16,000 light trucks or 22,000 cars off the road (122,000 MT of greenhouse gases).

Already Canada's largest independent rendering company, providing a vital recycling service to the food processing industry, Rothsay is now also a major player in the Canadian biodiesel industry. It helped foster the development of the biodiesel industry in Canada with such landmark studies as the City of Montreal's Bio Bus and BioMer projects. Rothsay has also operated a smaller pilot plant in Montreal for the last three years.

Rothsay, a division of Maple Leaf Foods Inc., is one of the largest producers of recycled value-added products including the production of animal feed ingredients, amino acid supplements, organic fertilizer, alternative fuel and other industrial uses by converting edible and inedible by-products. It operates five rendering facilities nationwide.


                            Biodiesel Fact Sheet

    What it is: Biodiesel is a clean burning, biodegradable and renewable
    fuel made from a variety of bioproducts such as vegetable oils, animal
    fats and recycled cooking oils.

    How it's made: Biodiesel is made by combining a natural oil or fat with
    an alcohol such as methanol or ethanol. The process leaves behind two
    products - methyl esters (the chemical name for biodiesel) and glycerin.

    Not a new product: Vegetable oil was used in diesel fuel as early as
    1900. The inventor of the diesel engine, Rudolf Diesel, originally
    designed the engine for use with peanut oil. The biodiesel production
    processes the oil to make it more acceptable to modern diesel engines.

    Markets: Biodiesel is widely used and available at the pumps in Europe
    and is rapidly gaining popularity in North America as an environmentally
    friendly alternative to petroleum diesel. Currently, the key markets for
    biodiesel are mass transit, marine and use in environmentally sensitive
    areas.

    Environmental Benefits :

    -  Biodiesel is a renewable fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
       It also reduces tailpipe exhaust emissions, minimizing black smoke and
       smog-causing particulate matter, odour and harmful carcinogens and
       does not contribute to sulphur dioxide emissions (acid rain).

    -  Biodiesel is as biodegradable as sugar and 10 times less toxic than
       table salt. This makes biodiesel ideal for use in environmentally
       sensitive areas.

    -  Biodiesel has an energy balance between 3.2 and 5 units i.e. for every
       one unit of energy required to produce biodiesel, 3.2 to 5 units are
       generated. The calculation is based on the energy required to grow,
       collect, transport, and process the feedstock, and the type of
       feedstock.

    Advantages :

    -  Biodiesel is safer to handle and transport than petroleum.

    -  It can be used in all diesel vehicles with minimal or no engine
       modifications and provides as much power as normal diesel fuel. It can
       be used in cold climates in blended form, generally B20 (refers to a
       blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel).

    -  In a B20 blend, biodiesel typically adds less than one cent per litre
       to the cost of the fuel. A very small price to pay considering the
       many environmental benefits.

SOURCE: Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

SOURCE: Rothsay

In English Canada: Phil von Finckenstein at (613) 233-1633;
In Quebec: Rita Mezzanotte at (301) 273-5655;
Or visit www.rothsaybiodiesel.ca


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