Scania's eco-engineered ethanol buses tested in Mexico City
The authorities in Mexico City have now decided to take serious measures to improve the environment for the capital city's 20 million inhabitants. Public transport is to be modernised, which will mean the replacement of about 12,000 buses over a 10-year period. The first step is increased focus on alternative fuels in order to reduce air pollution. In an initial trial, Scania has delivered two ethanol-powered city buses which are now being put into regular traffic in downtown Mexico City.
The mounting air-quality problems in Mexico City combined with the excellent supply of ethanol have spurred the authorities to initiate a trial with ethanol in a bid to reduce air pollution in the metropolitan area.
For the Mexican project, Scania has supplied two ethanol-powered OmniCity low-floor buses from the latest city-bus range. During the five-month test duration, the buses will undertake regular passenger transport operations in Mexico City.
"The total market for buses in Scania's segment amounts to about 1,000 vehicles a year. We recently started production of buses at our assembly plant in San Luis Potosí and we see considerable potential for Scania buses in Mexico," says Håkan Ericsson, the Managing Director of Scania Buses & Coaches. Scania has been assembling trucks for several years at the San Luis Potosí factory.
"Scania has long experience of ethanol power. More than 400 ethanol-powered city buses are in operation in Sweden. What is more, we have conducted tests with ethanol buses in Brazil's largest city, São Paulo. With the benefit of these experiences, we are confident about the tests now being initiated in Mexico," says Håkan Ericsson.
Mexico has access to a plentiful supply of ethanol. This offers considerable potential for running vehicles on ethanol alone or on a mixture of ethanol and other fuels, particularly in city traffic.
Ethanol as a fuel
Ethanol is an alternative fuel that can be extracted from traditional raw materials such as sugar cane and grain, as well as from forestry waste and as a winemaking by-product. Ethanol is made from biomass and is thus a renewable fuel. Unlike diesel oil, it does not make a net contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide as a result of combustion.
Furthermore, ethanol is a less complex hydrocarbon compound than diesel fuel, which means that the combustion process itself is far cleaner. Emissions of both nitrogen oxide and particulates are lower with ethanol than with diesel – approximately half in both cases. However, ethanol has a lower energy content than diesel oil, which leads to higher fuel consumption, normally around 75 percent.
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