Canadian freight rail operator Canadian Pacific, along with the state department Natural Resources Canada, is testing the effects of biodiesel fuel on locomotives during winter.

The five-month pilot programme, the first of its kind in the country, involves running four locomotives powered by diesel containing 5% of biodiesel made from animal fat, restaurant grease and vegetable oil.

Testing is being carried out on four GE AC4400 Diesel Locomotives with FDL-16 engines between Calgary and Edmonton and will run until March next year.

The programme is part of the government’s plans to regulate an average 2% renewable content in diesel fuel and heating oil by 2011 and an average 5% renewable fuel content based on the national gasoline pool by 2010, aimed at cutting greenhouse emissions.

The programme is being carried out using a $800,000 fund under the government’s National Renewable Diesel Demonstration Initiative.