Political ambivalence about bio fuels

If you are not already about to buy new buses for your local city transports, imagine yourself being in the situation of having to invest in new buses in a near future. As public transport authority or service provider you have been asked to provide environmentally friendly transports, but which?

Volvo 7700 biogas bus Volvo 7700 Biogas bus

You know that EU proposal for public procurement strongly promote cost efficient solutions with low fuel consumption. On the other hand the energy directive mainly focus on replacing coal fired electrical power plants in your region. And, there is not much help to gain from the lists of numerous fuels that can be considered. What is the implication for you?

The local farmers can provide some local production of biodiesel with reasonable efficiency but for securing the needed capacity and broadening the raw material base you know that a recent UN reports stress the importance of securing a strategy that will not sacrifice the food production and we don’t get much guidance what this will mean for different fuels.

Production of biogas is a safe choice since it combines waste management (sewage, manure and other wet wastes) with fuel production. The production capacity will hopefully be sufficient for fuelling the local city buses but not much more. Is this the preferred choice?

At the same time the EU leaders hesitate as for long term commitments:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7293436.stm

I have said it before and I say it again: We need long term (~20 years) political commitments to secure sustainable fuel production, vehicles and infra structure. Industrial investment decisions in the vehicle sector have a time constant of 4-5 elections!

For biogas the most recent introduction is our new 9 litre engines:

http://www.volvo.com/bus/global/en-gb/products/City+buses/Complete+buses/Volvo+7700/Introduction_new.htm?TAB=4

About volvobuses

Adjunct Professor of Catalysis at Chalmers University of Technology. Lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, with my wife and three daughters born in 1991, 1994 and 1997. Is a passionate runner.
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