Renewable fuel sources in the European transportation sector
As British media drive the latest renewable Focus Flexi-Fuel Vehicle (FFV) in Sweden this week, Ford is announcing a partnership with the Somerset Biofuel Project.
The European Commission has presented a proposal for a new European Directive to increase renewable fuel sources in the transportation sector. The goal is to replace the current 5.75% of gasoline and diesel used in the European Community with biofuels by the year 2010.
Ford, which was the first manufacturer to market a bioethanol-powered car in Europe with the prior model Focus FFV in 2001, is the sole vehicle provider to the project. Somerset County Council is leading the scheme which, subject to European Union approval, would initially bring around 40 all-new Focus FFVs to the county early next year.
Ford is negotiating with the Council, Wessex Water, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, and Wessex Grain to introduce Focus FFVs on their fleets. All organizations are partners in the Somerset project, which has been set up to produce bioethanol in the county, make the low carbon fuel available at five refueling stations in the county, and operate bioethanol-powered Ford vehicles to stimulate wider interest.
Andy Taylor, Ford’s corporate citizenship director, said: “The Ford Focus has been Britain’s favorite car every year since launch in 1998. Ford has moved fast to launch a bioethanol version of the all-new Focus which went on sale this year. All this would be for nothing without the simultaneous installation of a fuel supply infrastructure alongside the availability of bioethanol vehicles from Ford.
The Somerset Biofuel Project is proving what can be accomplished when major players work towards a common goal.”In Sweden, 80 percent of Focus models sold since 2001 have been Flexi-Fuel Vehicles. The Somerset project draws on the Swede’s experience of establishing regional bioethanol distribution networks and the introduction of bioethanol cars.
In Somerset, Wessex Grain is planning a bioethanol production plant on an existing grain storage site in Henstridge. The new facility would be able to convert 340,000 tons of wheat into 131,000,000 liters of ethanol a year at full capacity. Bioethanol for the first Focus FFVs on the road in Somerset next year will be supplied by Wessex Grain from crops grown locally and processed elsewhere.
The 1.8-liter Focus FFV offers an overall 70 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared to the same petrol-only model. This is achieved by factoring in the CO2 absorbed by the crop when grown before harvesting for bioethanol production. The South West region, including Somerset, has a target to cut CO2 emissions by 20 percent in the area by 2010.
Ian Bright, the sustainable development officer for Somerset County Council, said: “In addition to reducing greenhouse gasses, the bioethanol project presents significant opportunities for the county’s rural economy. Ford is a welcome and vital member of the Somerset Biofuel Project, which is working to realize significant environmental and economic benefits.”
In June this year, Ford and 13 other major organizations signed a bioethanol declaration calling on the UK Government to support investment in renewable fuels, ensuring that at least 5.75 percent of transport fuels sold in this country are renewable by 2010.
UK prices for the Ford Focus FFV will be announced later this year.