Biopower snippets

Some developments in the news in terms of the use of e85 and Saab’s Biopower engine setup that’s all primed to take advantage of the increased interest….

One of the criticisms of e85 is that it consumes more energy in its production than what it gives out as a fuel.  In other words, it’s energy-negative. This is particularly relevant in the US where corn is considered to be the main ingredient in production.  There are other crops that are considered to be more efficient for e85 production, but as there’s heaps of corn out there……

If it’s taking more energy to create it, then it’s likely creating more greenhouse gases in its lifetime, so the theory goes.

Autoblog are reporting on study this morning that’s turning that theory on its head.  Not by a huge margin, but enough to suggest that ethanol based fuels do have a real role to play in meeting future energy requirements and lessening the dependence on foreign oil, and all while being environmentally friendlier than the current setup.

The study (published here) also reports that there’s various venture capitalists pouring significant sums of money into the supply side of ethanol.  There’s even consideration in California that all enw cars may have to be flex-fuel ready in the future.

So word to Saab (as if they need it).  Get the 9-5 Biopower ‘concept’ out there sooner rather than later.  And the other models as soon as they’re available too.

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In other Biopower news, Saab are participating in a four-year project called BEST – BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport.  It’s going to be based in Stockholm and it will involve various locations, three different vehicle manufacturers, five ethanol producers and three different universities.  The project is being funded by the EU.

The objective for the BEST project is to establish a launch pad for a major breakthrough in the perception of bioethanol as an alternative automotive fuel. It is also carrying out research to encourage the use of common standards and recommendations for Europe.

BEST was officially launched in Stockholm last week at a three-day conference for all participating organisations. The first phase of the project calls for the creation of a functioning infrastructure with at least 140 bioethanol pumps at ten selected sites, including eight European cities. It is hoped that this will lead to nearly 10,000 bioethanol-powered cars being put on the road as demonstrators to inspire businesses, communities and motorists in general.

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1 Comment

  1. As much as I’d like to jump on the “BEST” bandwagon, some things need…alignment. So far E85 vehicles have shown poorer mileage than gasoline cousins. There is no point to alternative-fuel vehicles that don’t get better mileage. This could be corrected by smaller displacement engines, higher pressure turbos etc. Ethanol can be a replacement for methanol in many ways, including biodiesels transesterfication prosess. This could allow for another truly renewable, value-added fuel that heavy-duty trucks and buses could use…without any modification. And I would gladly test it in my obselete Saab turbodiesel thats been eeking out 32mpg this winter. Constant summer driving should be back up to ~43.

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