More on the Biopower 9-5

More this week about the 9-5 Biopower vehicle that’s now going well in Sweden.  For those that don’t get it, this is what Saabology is all about.  Taking an existing problem, finding an innovative solution and making it the best solution possible. 

Sure, you have an engine that runs on Ethanol, but how about an engine with a management system that will let it run on Ethanol, gasoline, or any mix of the two with no ill effects at all?  Enter in Trionic 7.

That’s what Saab do.  Gee, I love these cars.

It seems that Biopower is going to be expanded for use in the 9-3 range as well.  For all the info, click over the fold.

Saab 9-5 BioPower:

Environmental care with sporty performance

Saab leads the premium segment in offering a model fuelled by ethanol, an eco-friendly renewable energy source. The Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower is not only kinder to the environment, it also produces more power and performance than its gasoline equivalent. Sales have already begun in Sweden and demonstrator fleets are to be taken to other European markets.

The new Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower combines the benefits of ‘going green’ with the enjoyment of sporty performance. It also offers a very practical solution to the environmental needs of customers because it can run, without adjustment from the driver, on ethanol-based fuel or gasoline in any proportions.

Ethanol fuel is produced commercially from agricultural crops or forest residues. Unlike gasoline, its consumption does not raise atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the ‘greenhouse’ gas that contributes to global warming. This is because emissions during driving are balanced by the amount of CO2 that is removed from the atmosphere when crops for conversion are grown. It is currently in Sweden blended (85% ethanol/15% gasoline) and sold as E85 fuel.

Running on E85, the Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower engine delivers 180 bhp and 280 Nm of torque, compared to 150 bhp and 240 Nm when using gasoline, a significant 20 per cent increase in maximum power and 16 per cent more torque. This gives even sportier performance. The zero to 100 kph dash can be accomplished in 8.5 secs and 80-120 kph in fifth gear in 12.6 secs, compared to 9.8 and 14.9 secs when running only on gasoline.

Tests in Sweden, where the pump price of E85 is 25 per cent less than gasoline, show that fuel costs in urban and mixed driving are similar, while a useful 15 per cent gain can be expected at cruising speeds on main roads.

The adaptability of Saab’s powerful Trionic engine management system has facilitated re-programming to accommodate the different ignition timing and fuel/air mixture requirements of E85 fuel. Trionic continuously monitors, detects and makes any adjustments necessary for the use of E85 and gasoline in any combination.

E85 has a much higher octane rating (104 RON) than gasoline, which allows the timing of the engine’s ignition to be advanced, producing more power without risk of harmful ‘knocking’. The only hardware modifications necessary are more durable valves and valve seats, and the use of ethanol-compatible materials in the fuel system, including the tank, pump, lines and connectors.

During the development of the BioPower engine, Saab Powertrain engineers liaised with their General Motors colleagues in Brazil where 100 per cent ethanol (E100), produced locally from sugar cane, is the dominant fuel on the market.

"Our engine management system automatically adjusts for the blend of fuel so, if there is no ethanol available, the customer can simply run on gasoline at any time," says Kjell ac Bergstr�m, President and CEO of Saab Automobile Powertrain AB. "Turbocharged engines are particularly well-suited to exploiting the benefits of ethanol and our work with this engine indicates there is a great deal of development potential for this fuel."

As a next step in the current program, Saab is also planning to introduce BioPower models in the 9-3 Sport Sedan, SportCombi and Convertible ranges. Meanwhile, customer deliveries of the Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower, in sedan and wagon formats, begin in Sweden in June at the same price as gasoline-only models.

Pan-European Initiative

The EU is committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions, including the encouragement of a greater use of bio-fuels for road transport, and a fleet of Saab 9-5 BioPower models is to participate in demonstrations in five EU countries: Holland, UK, Ireland, Spain and Sweden, as well as China and Brazil.

This initiative, BEST (BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport), begins later this year and involves Saab, Scania and Ford Europe, backed by ethanol producers and university research centers. Public authorities and large company fleet operators will have the opportunity to test and evaluate the on-road performance of bio-ethanol powered vehicles.

An EU directive on energy taxation currently requires member states to apply reduced taxation, or a complete exemption, for bio-fuels in pure or low blends. The process is already underway in Sweden. In addition to benefiting from E85 fuel that is 25 per cent cheaper than gasoline, Saab 9-5 BioPower customers are also exempted from city congestion and parking charges, as well as qualifying for a 20 per cent reduction in benefit tax if they are company car drivers.

Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower:

Technical Specifications

1,985 cc. Four cylinders in-line.  Bore 90 mm, Stroke 78 mm

Cast iron block, alloy cylinder head.

DOHC chain-driven, 16-valves. Twin balancer shafts.

Turbocharged, intercooled.

Compression ratio, 9.3:1

Saab Trionic 7 engine management.

Direct ignition, multi-point fuel injection, electronic throttle control

Saab backs ethanol as next-step towards sustainable mobility

As the automobile motors into its second century, it is fast approaching a crossroads where crucial decisions must be made about the future direction of fuel requirements. To initiate the move towards sustainable mobility and to overcome our dependence on fossil fuels,, Saab believes that ethanol is a viable direction in which to move.

Saab Automobile Managing Director Jan-Ake Jonsson believes Sweden is in a position to lead Europe’s switch to the wide-scale production and use of  BioEthanol, a renewable energy carrier that has the potential to meet the fuel requirements for sustainable mobility.

The brand is supporting EU and Swedish government initiatives to encourage ethanol consumption by launching its first flexible-fuel vehicle (FFV) on the Swedish market. The Saab 9-5 BioPower runs on BioEthanol-based E85 fuel or pure gasoline in any combination. First customer deliveries begin in June.

"In the near-term, I am convinced that ethanol is a viable solution to our transport needs," says Jonsson. "It does not require the introduction of expensive new technology, cars can and are already using it, and it can be easily distributed within our existing supply infrastructure." 

BioEthanol-fuelled vehicles are part of three-pronged approach in General Motors’ overall propulsion strategy. In the near-term, improvements to its gasoline and diesel engines and transmissions, as well as the use of renewable fuels � like BioEthanol � provide the first step. Energy efficient hybrid vehicles will be the next step and fuel cells powered by hydrogen – preferable to renewable sources such as BioEthanal – will offer the ultimate environmental answer.

Global perspective

Saab considers there to be two non-negotiable driving forces behind the adoption of a renewable fuel such as BioEthanol: the environmental need to combat the so-called ‘greenhouse’, or climate change, effect and the need to overcome our dependence on oil, a finite resource where the rapid growth of global demand will exceed supply.

Emissions of fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) from road transportation are widely recognized as a major cause of the ‘greenhouse’ effect, which is responsible for climate change and all its associated problems. In Sweden, for example, close to 40 per cent of CO2 emissions are due to transport. And globally, this trend is accelerating as vehiclenumbers continue to grow. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development estimates that in the next 25 years the world’s vehicle population will double, largely due to huge growth in China and developing economies.

Why Ethanol?

Cars running on BioEthanol, which is produced from agricultural crops, sugar cane or bio-mass, are governed by the same law of physics as those using gasoline. That means both emit CO2, as an inevitable consequence of the combustion process. But there is a crucial difference: burning ethanol, in effect, recycles the CO2 because it has already been removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis during the natural growth process. In contrast, the use of gasoline or diesel injects into the atmosphere additional new quantities of CO2 which have lain fixed underground in oil deposits for millions of years.

A long-standing natural balance in global CO2 levels began to change more than a century ago, with the advent of industrialization built on the use of fossil energy. A UN body, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), estimates that this process is largely responsible for today’s predicament through generating a 35 per cent increase in the global level of atmospheric CO2.

In seeking alternative energy sources, a reduction of such ‘fossil CO2’ is therefore essential. Saab believes the adoption of BioEthanol can play a crucial role. It is already produced commercially from corn in the United States and from sugar cane in Brazil,  where General Motors do Brazil markets its unique Chevrolet Astra 2.0i Multipower sedan, which can run on ethanol, gasoline and even compressed natural gas (CNG).

Brazil, as the biggest and most advanced producer of BioEthanol, has already shown the world how to produce large volumes of ethanol, without any subsidies, at a lower cost than the world market price of gasoline. In Sweden, ethanol is currently produced commercially from wheat and at ETEK’s (Etanolteknik AB) R&D pilot plant at �rnsk�ldsvik, an industrial process for producing it from wood and forest residues is being developed for large-scale commercial applications.  The Canadian company, IOGEN, with support from Shell, is also developing new production processes for biomass-based ethanol. In a comprehensive 2004 study, the International Energy Agency, an OECD organization, estimates there is enough global resource of biomass for biofuels such as ethanol to meet two thirds of the world’s current energy needs for transport.

To remove fossil CO2 completely from the environmental loop, emissions during the commercial production of ethanol must also be minimized and modern processes are already moving towards a zero emission status. Success in achieving this will depend on the type of biomass raw material and production processes that are used. The ETEK plant  isl targeting, from a life cycle perspective, the zero fossil emission production of BioEthanol.      

Europe’s role

The EU’s latest directive on energy taxation, effective from 1 January last year, calls on member states to apply reduced taxation or a complete exemption for bio-fuels in pure or low blends. It follows a parallel directive requiring member states to introduce measures by the end of this year that will ensure bio-fuels account for at least 2 per cent of total gasoline and diesel consumption in the transport sector, increasing steadily to 5.75 per cent by 2010.

"The generally high environmental awareness within our society, together with the work at ETEK in �rnsk�ldsvik and other Swedish initiatives, place Sweden in a position to lead the European development of BioEthanol as a near and mid-term solution," adds Jonsson.

Current developments in Sweden include the introduction of city buses running on pure ethanol, tax incentives and free parking for users of flex-fuel cars and the market-driven establishment of more than 160 filling stations selling E85 fuel. The government has also announced that, by 2008, 25 percent of the country’s filling stations will be mandated to offer renewable fuels. And from this year, governmental agencies are required to source at least 50 percent of cars as eco-friendly vehicles.

"The Swedish government and its agencies are to be congratulated in rising to the challenge. At Saab, we too are making a contribution in developing our 9-5 BioPower model for the Swedish market," says Jonsson. "We will also be providing demonstrator cars for promotional activities in other European markets as a way of stimulating infrastructure development.

"Ethanol provides an effective first step. It is a bridge that can lead us from obsolete fossil fuels towards new, sustainable technologies that are still under development, such as BioHydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

"We have reached a turning point where action must be taken if we are to avoid a crisis in meeting our future, sustainableenergy needs for transport."

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1 Comment

  1. Since SAAB has a reputation for eco-power, sustainable development and the other eco-buzzwords, it has astounded me that Volvo have beaten them to a dual fuel car. You can’t blame GM, either, since Vauxhall/Opel offered the Vectra as a dual fuel car. All it was was a matter of time and SAAB come out with one better. The FFV is a fantastic concept. Well done SAAB! Thanks to more than a little help from Trionic 7, of course 🙂

    Now since Sweden (well, their government) have vowed to rid themselves of their dependency on oil by 2020 and have a mandate to systematically close down nuclear power stations this will be an interesting one to watch.

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