Sustainability Considerations in Biofuel Development in Saskatchewan, Canada

Sustainability Considerations in Biofuel Development in Saskatchewan, Canada

S. N. Kulshreshtha E. Musaba 

University of Saskatchewan, Canada

| |
| | Citation



With the last round of negotiations under the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP) now completed, every country would be searching for avenues to meet the targets agreed upon in the COP. Among various options, biofuel development has historically been a preferred option in various countries and Canada (including Saskatchewan) is no exception to it. One of the major motivations of this development is to help the rural communities grow. Results of this study suggest that smaller rural economies in Saskatchewan do not grow under such an initiative, since they have a large degree of leakages. Thus, biofuel development helps more to larger nearby communities than smaller communities. Another aspect of rural development is increased farm level incomes. Both ethanol and biodiesel production activities indicate a favorable impact on farm net income in Saskatchewan. However, in order to develop sustainable biofuel program, some attention needs to be paid to other aspects. Included here are implications of such a development on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and land use changes, water use, subsidization and further stress on international food security. On the water use issue, examination needs to be made both for the feedstock used and production of biofuel. If the feedstock is through irrigated production, biofuel’s desirability on this count is reduced. Estimated GHG emissions from biofuel production studied in a life cycle assessment format, suggest a major reduction is possible, although they are slightly lower if the production of feedstock affects land use changes. Although the issue of food security in the context of Saskatchewan or Canada has not been raised, internationally such concerns could arise depending on the scale of expansion of such production in various countries.


biofuel, greenhouse gas emissions, saskatchewan, sustainable, water use


[1] FCCC (Framework Convention on Climate Change), Adoption of the Paris Agreement. Conference of the Parties, Paris, 30 November 2015 to 11 December 2015.

[2] Statistics Canada, Cereals and Oilseed Review, available at:, (accessed 29 January 2016).

[3] Musaba, E., Spatial diffusion of economic integrated ethanol-cattle production complex in Saskatchewan. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, 1997.

[4] Stabler, J. & Olfert, R., Saskatchewan’s Communities in the Twenty-first Century. Canadian Plains Research Center: Regina, 2002.

[5] Nagy, C. & Furtan, H., Economic assessment of biodiesel in Saskatchewan. Unpublished document, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, 2006.

[6] Smith, E., Janzen, H. & Newlands, N., Energy balances of biodiesel production from soybean and canola in Canada. Canadian Journal of Plant Sciences, 87, pp. 793–801, 2007.

[7] Seecharan, R., Ravindrapal, G., Kulshreshtha, S., Junkins, B. & Bussler, O., Expanded use of biofuels: economics and greenhouse gas emissions related implications for the agriculture sector. World Economic Review, 14(2), pp. 204–221, 2002.

[8] Marshall, L., Carving out policy space for sustainability in biofuel production. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 36(2), pp. 183–196. 2007.

[9] World Watch Institute, Biofuels for Transport, Earthcan: London, 2007.

[10] Sheelanere, P. & Kulshreshtha, S., Sustainable biofuel production: opportunities for rural development. International Journal of Environment and Resources, 2(1), pp. 1–13, 2013.

[11] Auld, D., The Ethanol Trap: Why Policies to Promote Ethanol as Fuel Need Rethinking. C.D. Howe Institute: Ottawa, 2008.

[12] IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis), Biofuels and climate change: challenge to food security in the twenty-first century. Options, Winter, ,pp. 18–19, 2009/10.

[13] Stanich, T., Water efficiency as a result of sound water management. available at:, 2016(accessed 29 January 2016).