Bioethanol provides greatest greenhouse gas reduction

Bioethanol provides greatest greenhouse gas reduction

A major four-year project in the Swedish capital of Stockholm has concluded that bioethanol is by far the most efficient alternative fuel technology in reducing CO2 emissions from heavy vehicles.

Since 2010, a total of 50 alternative-fuel trucks have operated in Stockholm in what has been one of the largest trials of renewable fuels for trucks ever. The Clean Truck project has been managed by the City of Stockholm in cooperation with fuel distributors and transport companies.

The 50 trucks were operated on dual fuel (methane/diesel), hybrid electric-diesel and the bioethanol fuel ED95. The project, which was supported by the European Union’s Life+ programme, sought to determine the potential for C02 reductions and the added cost of environmentally sustainable deliveries to retailers in Stockholm.

Clear winner

When results were evaluated recently, the Scania bioethanol truck had emerged as the clear winner with a nearly 70-percent CO2 reduction. Initially, when forestry waste was used to produce ED95, the reduction was even higher, 90 percent.

The Scania bioethanol trucks are operated by the Kyl- och Frysexpressen transport company in Stockholm, which carries out deliveries of fresh produce to food retailers in the area. In 2010, the transporter took delivery of its first three ED95 trucks, a fleet that has subsequently been expanded to 15 trucks.

“After having operated ED95 trucks for a few years, we still firmly consider them, by far, as the best alternative fuel available,” says Managing Director Robert Barkensjö. “Of the options that presently exist, there’s simply no reason to look at other solutions.”

Minor added cost

The final assessment of the four-year project shows that the total operating cost for all tested vehicles can be up to 15 percent higher compared with diesel operations.

“Rather, our experience shows that the price difference is lower, some five percent with the recent decline in oil prices,” says Barkensjö. “Previously, the difference was only 1–2 percent. That would correspond to an added retail price of perhaps one-tenth of a euro cent per kilo vegetables. I’m convinced that consumers are willing to pay that small amount for sustainable transport.”

No difference

The transporter says that in its experience there is no difference whatsoever between operating and driving a bioethanol compared with a diesel truck. What are the prerequisites for bioethanol operations? “None at all, besides that fact that you need a heavy vehicles licence,” according to Barkensjö. ‘

The 15 vehicles operated by Kyl- och Frysexpressen meet Euro 5 standards and the haulier is now waiting to take delivery of bioethanol Euro 6 trucks. The first of these trucks are now being tested with customers for final technical verification.