Volvo Bus Australia approves 30 percent bio-diesel

By: Graham Gardiner

In keeping with its commitment to environmental care Volvo Bus Australia has approved the use of up to 30 percent

In keeping with its commitment to environmental care Volvo Bus Australia has approved the use of up to 30 percent bio-diesel blends in its nine- and 12-litre engine buses without engine modification.

Bio-diesel is the given name to a variety of ester-based oxygenated fuels and is most commonly sourced from renewable canola, soy bean, sunflower and palm oils in Australia. A 30 percent blend refers to fuel comprised of 30 percent bio-diesel and 70 percent conventional diesel.

"The great thing about the bio-diesel blended fuel is that it can be used in current Volvo nine- and 12-litre diesel engines without any modifications, which is excellent for bus operators. If operators manage their service programs to cater for the use of bio-diesel then the impact on bus operation is very minimal," says David Mead, General Manager Volvo Bus.

When using bio-diesel operators are typically required to replace fuel filters at every oil change and clean the fuel tank, fuel-level gauge and internal filter every 12 months. Engine-mounted fuel pipes, fuel filter housing and seals should also be checked annually.

Bio-diesel fuel used in Volvo vehicles must comply with EN14214, which is a European standard describing quality requirements and testing methods. EN590 diesel fuel and VDS-3 oil quality (or higher) should also be used.

"Bio-diesel is increasingly available here in Australia and the quality is comparable to that found in European markets," Mead says.

"The biggest advantages of using bio-diesel are the environmental and health benefits offered by the renewable fuel. It is an effective and practical way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower air pollution."

Using bio-diesel not only reduces the amount of carbon dioxide (one of the highest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions) released into the atmosphere but likewise lowers the unburned hydrocarbons emitted and reduces air pollution and smog.

Studies have revealed that using bio-diesel also has health benefits. It reduces the amount of carbon monoxide (a highly toxic gas) released into the atmosphere as well as reducing particulate matter, which has been linked to asthma and other respiratory diseases.

"At Volvo we believe it is important for all companies to demonstrate concern for the environment and practice good social responsibility. By approving the use of bio-diesel in conjunction with our low-emission vehicles, it enables us and our customers to contribute to environmental outcomes while continuing to provide safe and high-quality transport solutions," Mead says.

For the past seven years the Volvo Group has been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index – an index of the world’s foremost companies that combine financial profitability with concern for the environment and social issues. In 2008 less than 13 percent of companies reviewed made the list.

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