BioPower Bits

There’s a couple of interesting BioPower stories floating around today.

Ted’s acknowledged the first one in comments, which is a rather well-written quick piece at a site called T3. They’ve taken the new BioPower 9-3 for a spin and put pen to paper in neat fashion:

Not only is it a damn fine looking automobile: it’s got so much more than the fine, sleek curves of a Swedish sports car. Most notably: Underneath the muscular bonnet breathes an omnivorous monster called the 2.0t BioPower engine. Feed it petrol, and it happily chugs away, offering 185 horsepower to play with – not too shabby, but pour E85 bio ethanol down its gullet, and it transforms into a nearly unrecognisable beast. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself in effortless control 200 rampant ponies.

I’d post a little more, but that’s about a quarter of the entire piece right there. Ted’s posted another quarter of it in comments. A piece well worth 2 minutes of your time.


The second one is an Australian piece.

A government minister in Western Australia has taken the 9-5 BioPower out for a drive on the track.

The benefits of a Western Australian biofuels industry was put on display today when Agricultural and Food Minister Kim Chance showed his rally driving prowess.

The racing enthusiast got behind the wheel of an ethanol-fuelled Saab BioPower, the first ethanol-powered production car in Australia.

Mr Chance’s display at the Barbagallo Raceway in Neerabup came as the State Government was set to consider the recommendations of the Western Australian Biofuels Taskforce Report following the conclusion of the public comment period last week.

It’s part of an ongoing discussion here in Oz about Biofuels. I’d always thoght that Queensland was the main biofuel contender but the good folk of Wester Australia obviously want to throw their hat into the ring as well.

More of it, I say.

The reaction appeared to be quite positive and I’ll be making some inquiries to try and check out exactly how far the discussion has progressed. Saab are launching the 9-5 BioPower here shortly, despite the lack of availability of E85, but perhaps the future is coming quicker than we think.

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  1. Question: In Austrailia and other parts of the world, what is the “bio” stock used to produced “biofuels?”

    In the US the talk is almost exclusively corn, which is starting to cause problems: Corn prices are rising. Mexico isn’t happy because tortiallias and other “cheap” corn-based staples are now not cheap; meat prices are rising as most use corn-heavy feedstocks; high fructose corn syrup is the sweetener in almost everything; apparently even “earth friendly” packing peanuts are getting expensive — as they use corn starch as a major ingredient.

    There has been some talk here in Florida that we could derive Ethanol out of food byproducts like orange peels and the leaf and non-useful portions of sugar cane … that seems much more reasonable …

    What do they use in other places?

  2. Yeah, why not use compost??

    I’m confused on an issue myself. In the owners manual for my new Combi, it says that Saab recommends the use of fuels that contain bioethanols, but then it says you must use a fuel rated AON 90 or greater (which is 87 octane US). But it says nothing about E85. Certainly, there are no E85 stations in FL near to me, but what alternative mixtures can I run in the 2.0T engine, if they become available. I’ve also heard that in some regions, 5-10% ethanol is added to petrol, but how do I know what my car drinks here locally?

  3. Nevitz, I don’t think any USA engines from Saab can exceed 10% ethanol which would eliminate E85 as an option. The section on Refueling should spell out the max % of alcohol. Or sign up at the Saab Owner Center and download the pdf owner’s manual and search for “ethanol” or alocohol. Much easier than the paper version. 🙂

  4. I have an account with the owner center – good stuff – but have not checked that yet. But I have scoured the paper manual and nothing, no percentage or anything, just said “Recommends ethanol additives” and “Requires min AON 90”.

  5. E85 = more power in a turbocharged Saab, great. How does it impact fuel mileage? Most cars see a degredation of 20%+ when using E85. Is this the same with a turbocharged Saab?

  6. GWC, the Saab also suffers from the mileage penalty. But the turbocharging does give the power and torque boost that a n/a engine won’t enjoy as much.

    In a perfect world, the lower price of E85 should partially offset the reduced mileage. But the world ain’t perfect.

    Chaaalie – the feedstock they’re promoting here is sugar cane. There is quite a decent sugar industry in Queensland (north east Aust).

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