Aussie Biopower restricted to E10 at best

I reported last week on Saab Australia’s placement of a Biopower 9-5 in the Queensland government’s fleet. (Geography lesson: think Queensland, think now-former Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin).

I was hoping that the Queensland government would commission a small load of E85 to run the car on, but this report from Drive.com indicates that this won’t be the case.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie (pictured just prior to ripping of his face mask) has ordered a biofuel Saab 9-5 that can run on up to 85 per cent bioethanol, a fuel made primarily from grain or cane sugar.

But there’s a catch. While the Saab can run on E85 (an 85 per cent ethanol, 15 per cent petrol mix), the Government car will run on normal petrol.

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E85 isn’t commercially available in Australia, so the delivery of the Saab is more a gesture than a genuine planet saver…..

….Beattie won’t be driving the car but he is keen to encourage biofuel use in Australia, given the potential benefits for Queensland primary industry (SW – Qld has a BIG sugarcane industry)

The government is backing the development of two ethanol plants in Pinkenba and Dalby. The Pinkenba refinery will be able to produce 160 megalitres of fuel-grade ethanol a year.

Beattie’s government steers its fleet drivers to use petrol with a 10 per cent ethanol blend wherever possible. It estimates the fleet uses more than 33,000 litres of ethanol a month.

Still, it’s good to get the ball rolling, if nothing else.

With a recent change in leadership in the federal opposition party here in Australia, we have a real chance for a change in government. Given that the current conservative government isn’t going to look at E85 anytime soon, maybe the opposition will. It’s no real reason to base your vote on, but if it happens, then it happens.

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