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Royal message: Scania ethanol buses to be tested in Brazil

São Paulo, Brazil is one of several major cities where Scania’s ethanol-powered buses will now be tested in public transport. The first bus will go into service in October. This was announced earlier today as President Lula da Silva during his state visit to Sweden had a test ride in one of Scania’s ethanol buses together with HM King Carl XVI Gustaf and Scania’s CEO Leif Östling.

The bus will be operated by the transport company Empresa Metropolitana de Transportes Urbanos de São Paulo (EMTU/SP), and the trial will be co-ordinated by biofuel experts at the Brazilian Reference Centre on Biomass (Cenbio), which is linked to the University of São Paulo.

The field trials of Scania’s ethanol buses in São Paulo will occur as part of the BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport (BEST) project. The aim of the BEST project is to support the large-scale use of ethanol as a vehicle fuel. Trials take are taking place in ten urban areas around the world. Scania is supplying the city buses included in the project.

The BEST project is building ethanol refuelling stations in ten locations around the world and carrying out trials involving both cars and city buses. In addition to São Paulo, participating locations include Stockholm, Rotterdam, Dublin, La Spezia (Italy), Madrid, the Basque provinces of Spain and Nanyang (China).

The BEST project was started by representatives of the Stockholm regional public transport company Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL) and is now partly financed by the European Union (EU). The aim is to pave the way for broad-based acceptance of ethanol as a viable alternative fuel for both cars and commercial vehicles.

Scania started to develop ethanol buses in the mid-1980s in close co-operation with SL. After more than 15 years of regular full-scale operation in tough city conditions, SL considers it a fully proven bus technology. There are no operational drawbacks as long as the scheduled maintenance requirements are followed. The buses themselves are completely standard, using regular Scania components.

Since the late 1980s, Scania has delivered more than 600 ethanol buses to Swedish public transport companies, and the technology has yielded major environmental gains. Ethanol is a renewable fuel that does not make a net contribution of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

As early as 1989, Scania’s ethanol engine met Euro 3 emission standards, which became compulsory in 2001. The second ethanol engine generation was introduced in 1996 and meets Euro 4 emission standards, which have been in effect since 2006.

Scania recently unveiled its third-generation ethanol engines, which have the same thermal efficiency as a regular diesel engine and meanwhile are certified for both Euro 5 and EEV standards. Euro 5 becomes compulsory in the EU in October 2009.

Interest in renewable alternative fuels is spreading rapidly around the world. One reason is the rising oil price, which makes the alternatives more competitive. Local fuel production based on renewable materials will reduce dependency on imported oil.

Another increasingly strong reason for the interest in ethanol and other renewable fuels is the growing concern about global warming, which is considered to be caused largely by carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. Since they make no net contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere, alternative fuels reduce the impact of transport on the greenhouse effect.

Scania’s position is that by sticking to established technologies, the transition to alternative fuels will be smooth and cost-effective. In Scania’s case, this means using pure ethanol with 5 per cent ignition improver in an engine that works efficiently according to the diesel principle.

Ethanol can be produced from sugar cane and sugar beets, as well as from cereals and biowaste. The technology is developing continuously. Recent findings include technologies for producing ethanol from cellulose and burning the residual products in district heating or electricity generating plants.

For further information, please contact Urban Wästljung, Public and Environmental Affairs, mobile phone +46 70 53716 19, e-mail