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Olympic fleet trials new biofuels

Some of BMW’s Olympic fleet cars will be trialling new biofuels during their official duties. Games sponsor BP is trialling what it calls ‘game-changing’ biofuel technology, with three new advanced biofuel blends. 

Around 100 of BMW’s 4,000 strong Olympic fleet are trailing the new fuels; one fuel is an cellulosic ethanol developed from specially grown energy grasses, another is a sugar-to-diesel fuel which can be produced any source of sugar and the third is a biobutanol, made by the advanced fermentation of plant sugars by a special micro-organism.

Some of BMW's London Olympic fleet vehicles

What is genuinely impressive is that the cellulosic fuel, when blended with regular unleaded fuel it is, at 103, the highest-octane fuel ever pumped from a UK forecourt.

The biobutanol has been produced at the Butamax demonstration plant in Hull. This plant was established through a joint venture with DuPont, with the aim to developing biobutanol technology which can be deployed globally at full commercial scale.

Announcing the use of the three new fuels, Philip New, CEO BP Biofuels, explained: “These breakthrough technologies will redefine biofuels. By incorporating them in the fuels for London 2012 we have taken the next generation of biofuels from the laboratory to the road.”

“We are the only company in the world with the capability to connect expertise from the laboratory to the farm, to the factory and through to the driver.”

BP, one the more controversial sponsors of the London Olympic due to environmental criticism levelled at the firm in recent years (remember that oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago?), is now keen to assert that it believes that biofuels have a real part to play in meeting the energy demands of the future (presumably in a cleaner and safer manner than its met them in the past).

With biofuels already make up three per cent of transport fuels used around the world, the oil giant estimates they could account for seven per cent of all transport fuels by 2030.

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Faye Sunderland

Filed under: Biofuels

1 comment

Alex Kovnat

Here in the USA, our Navy has been spending taxpayer's money for bio-derived ship fuel at a cost per barrel that's far in excess of the same fuel derived from petroleum. There has been considerable criticism from some members of our Congress because of this. So one might ask: might the UK Parliament offer similar criticism over the cost of biofuels to the Olympic automotive fleet?

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