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Chamber Ethanol Breakfast Highlights

In an effort to bring information to the business community about ethanol, the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce hosted a breakfast Friday, October 12th at the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre in Oshawa with guest speakers Steve Arnold, Warden of Lambton County and Dr. Terry Daynard, Bioproducts EDO for Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC).

“There has been much rhetoric over the past several months from individuals and politicians on both sides of the issue,” stated CEO and General Manager Bob Malcolmson, “and the goal of the breakfast was to dispel the myths about the industry and not to debate the location of the refinery. Both speakers Dr. Terry Daynard and Warden Steve Arnold are well respected in their fields and neither is connected to the proposal and spoke at the request of the Chamber of Commerce.”
The Warden of Lambton County stressed the importance of ethanol proponents working with the community and keeping the lines of communication open with the municipal government.

The Chamber agrees that the issue is of vital importance to the City and communication is necessary and the Chamber was disappointed only one Oshawa Councillor, Councillor Bruce Wood, turned up to hear the speakers. Mayor Henry attended the breakfast portion of the event and left prior to the presentations by the speakers because of emergency exercises being conducted by the Region of Durham.

The Chamber’s number one objective is to create an atmosphere that will advance existing business, attract new business and facilitate retention of business—thus having the affect of sustaining or creating employment and adding to our municipal tax base.

The Chamber has been working diligently on the Oshawa Port file since 1998 and has been consistent in its position over the past 14 years that Port Oshawa has significant economic benefits for existing business and has the potential to attract new business to Durham Region.

In 2007 the Chamber made a presentation at a public meeting with respect to the proposal for an Ethanol plant at Port Oshawa. The Chamber stated that it was beyond the Chamber’s ability to determine if the location being proposed by FarmTech was or was not the appropriate sight. The Chamber went on to state that, “in the current economic climate the Chamber did not wish to see projects like the FarmTech proposal unduly delayed if environmental concerns could be mitigated through proper design; and as the business community, we expect due diligence and adherence to proper processes in reviewing environmental, safety and other concerns.”

Ethanol Breakfast – Presentation Highlights

Fuel ethanol consumption:
•    Canada – about 2 billion litres/year, 5% of gasoline consumption
•    US – about 50 billion litres/year, 10% of gasoline consumption
•    World – about 85 billion litres/year, nearly 5% of gasoline consumption – majority in Brazil, Europe but also in many other countries

Why Ethanol?
•    Oxygenated gasoline – more complete combustion, clearer emissions
•    Renewable fuel, extend and replace fossil fuel supply, less price volatility
•    Economic development/opportunity – new market outlet for excess agricultural capacity
•    Canadian fuel ethanol usage equivalent to removing 440,000 cars from the road

Ethanol and consumers:
•    Average Canadian family earns enough money by January 9 at noon to pay farmers’ share of annual food purchases. Ethanol may delay this until 4 PM
•    Ethanol does affect food prices – increase of about $35-50/year per North American family…But…Ethanol reduces gasoline purchase costs by about $100 to $160/year for the average Canadian family

Ethanol downsides:
•    Slightly higher NOx emissions
•    Requires a clean, water-free base gasoline

Ethanol and developing world:
•    Yellow dent corn—little used for food
•    Rice and wheat far more important
•    Price spikes closely linked to fossil energy prices
•    Biofuel production can affect local food supply, but augments local petro supplies
•    Solution to world hunger is not increased shipments of cheap grain from Canada/US.

Direct Benefits To St. Clair Township of Ethanol Plant
•    400 million litres of fuel produced and transported, offsetting fossil fuel requirements and 600,000t of GHG
•    40 million bushels of corn (not fit for human consumption) processed (20 cent/bushel) premium paid
•    After the starches are removed there is 20 million bushels of high quality , totally digestible premium cattle feed through DDG’s
•    63 full time workers
•    470 construction jobs 235 x 2 builds (2 phases)
•    Property Taxes Township—$162,000 County – $146,000 Education – $197,000
•    Total contribution, 2012—$505,000 annually
•    Purchased Water from municipality, 2011—$817,000

Potential Concerns To St. Clair Township of Ethanol Plant
•    The process started with apprehension and skepticism
•    The proponent made sure the Community and Council concerns were addressed promptly
•    No community complaints have been received by the Township
•    Potential high volume of trucks (max 74 trucks a day or 27,000 a year, without rail), although these are being managed with no major community impacts
•    One issue is that some trucks leaving the site will do a second cleanout along the sides of roadways in a 5km radius. Suncor continues to work with their suppliers to eliminate this issue
•    All in all the site is viewed as a positive addition in community

Check the web site of Grain Farmers of Ontario, www.gfo.ca for more information on the effects of biofuels and bioproducts on the environment, crop and food prices and world hunger.

To view the complete presentations visit www.youtube.com/oshawachamber and follow the links.