Saab BioPower participate in World Solar Challenge

Ok, so BioPower isn’t solar, but sugarcane is grown under the Australian sun.

The World Solar Challenge is taking place right here in Australia from the 21st to the 28th October.

Team EthanolClick to enlarge

Team Ethanol comes out of Queensland, where the sugarcane grows, and they’ll be driving a Saab 9-5 BioPower, presumably with a fuel truck in tow as there’s no E85 pumps here in Australia.

The World Solar challenge is primarily for solar powered vehicles, but there’s several alternate classes as well. Team BioPower are part of the Greenfleet Class in the event, a class of vehicles demonstrating new automotive technologies offering a substantial improvements in the environmental profile. Electric, hybrid, and low carbon fuels.

The event runs north to south, right through the centre of Australia – from Darwin to Adelaide – a trip of just over 3,000 kilometers.


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Team Ethanol are out to prove that ethanol is a practical fuelling solution for modern vehicles. The team’s vehicle runs on ethanol produced from sugarcane growth in Queensland’s Mackay region.

The picture below shows some of the Team Ethanol people with the Twike team from Switzerland, who are running an electric vehicle in the event.

World Solar Challenge

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8 Comments

  1. If their 9-5 is properly run in (20-30000 km at least) and they’re not too leadfooted they should make that trip with less than 300 liters of E85. 15 Jerrycans 20 litre jerrycans in the boot….. 😉

  2. Mats, wouldn’t the additional weight cause the car to consume more fuel though? And I hope they’re taking a Combi to fit all that fuel.

    The comment about having a caravan with a fuel truck in tow made me chuckle. I was thinking, “what’s the fuel truck running on?”. Probably diesel. So to show how great ethanol can be for the environment they’re going to run TWO cars in the run? One running environmentally-friendlier E85 and the other running NOx-spewing diesel emissions!?!? 😉

  3. PT: what blend of biodiesel? While anything below B99 is better than nothing, it still makes me wonder if we can do better. Then again, E85 (with its up to 30% gasoline by volume) makes me think the same thing! 😉

  4. Hi Gripen,

    Fuel with 2-5% biodiesel content is quite common now among the major suppliers now. Its what I use and is pretty much the limit for commonrail engines using high pressure injectors. Up to 100% biodiesel is available from various sources although its not widespread. I’d like to use this but its water content is too high & will eventually kill a modern diesel engine. Most trucks can run biodiesel easily but i don’t know how available it is outside the metropolitan areas or at truckstops with high-flow pumps.

    On the topic of fuel: E10 is now widely available and being promoted which is a good thing. Its not E85 but it helps and you can run it in a standard engine.

  5. PT: thanks for the info. While I’m of the opinion that “every little bit helps” 2-5% biodiesel is a token amount, and really shouldn’t be allowed to be called “biodiesel” at all. I think that diesel fuel should have at least 50% biodiesel in it to be called “biodiesel”, but that’s just my opinion and we know how much that counts… 😉

    You don’t call E10 “ethanol”, right? You don’t even call E85 “ethanol” (properly). Only E100 can be called “ethanol”. E10 was called “gasohol” and I’m making it my personal mission to bring back the name! 😉

  6. Sorry mate, I should have been clearer. The 2-5% fuel is not called biodiesel; its just sold as regular diesel but if you look at the fine print you can see that there is some bio content. Its not misleading.
    As for what is marketed as biodiesel – I don’t know what content is claimed. Will check it out and let you/swade know when I can.

    Gasohol. Hmmmm, can’t see it catching on but good luck with that anyway.

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