Biodiesel can be made from many different sources--canola, soy, peanuts, algae, and so on--but the vast majority of the fuel that we sell is made from Canadian-grown canola. Also, biodiesel can be made as a blend with regular diesel fuel. When you see the term "B5" it means that someone has produced a blend of fuels, with 5% biodiesel and 95% diesel. The advantage of diesel engines is that they can run biodiesel and diesel--and at any blend ratio.
The fuel that we produce and use in car engines is B100, which means it is made entirely from biodiesel--and in our case, that means primarily canola. We also make biodiesel made from non-canola sources, such as soy, but we try to avoid using it in engines, for reasons explained in the FAQs. The non-canola biodiesel is used, for instance, for home heating needs.
In the beginning, our co-op had numerous small-scale producers who made backyard biodiesel and sold it to the co-op at wholesale prices, and then the co-op sold it to other members. But as we've grown and supply has increased, we now rely on one main producer. That producer brews biodiesel at a medium-scale facility in the area, and has been producing biodiesel for over ten years, having now produced tens of thousands of liters of quality fuel.
Our principal supplier, and other co-op members, source our fuel stock from local WVO (waste vegetable oil). This is advantageous for two reasons. First, it's local and abundant. Every restaurant with a deep fryer uses vegetable oil, and once it's been used, it needs to go somewhere. A lot of it ends up as animal feed, but increasingly, WVO ends up in biodiesel producing facilities. Second, it's recycled. Canada produces quite a lot of canola, and some of it ends up in restaurants in the Victoria area. So it's great to be able to use domestically produced oil, and in fact use it twice!
We are not able to certify the purity of every batch of biodiesel that we make; the law does not require it and it would simply be impossible for us to do so. (This helps to explain why we don't have a public fueling station.) However, we do take measures to ensure that our members get the safest and highest possible quality biodiesel.
Our fuel is also delivered in--you guessed it!--a truck that runs on biodiesel, and whenever possible, biodiesel and renewables are used in the process of making the fuel.
Ideally, members have space on their property to hold a 200-liter barrel. The biodiesel is delivered regularly to your door and is then easily transferred from barrel to vehicle via a low-cost pump system or a jerry can. Short of having your own barrel, co-op members can fill up at the homes of a few other co-op members who have made their barrels accessible to others.
Our co-op is thus committed to domestic, sustainable, and recycled fuels. To learn more about biodiesel, read our FAQs.