Merseyside’s buses to run on biodiesel

Transport authority Merseytravel and Stagecoach are launching a new green initiative which will see buses run on recycled cooking oil in Merseyside.

The initiative forms part of a commitment to a European bionic project being funded by the European Commission and Intelligent Energy Europe programme and coordinated in Europe by Merseytravel.

The aim is to promote the production and use of sustainably produced biofuels in transport.

Merseytravel is supporting the two year trial through the provision of refuelling infrastructure to allow six Stagecoach vehicles to run on a greener blend of fuel; a B30 biodiesel mix supplied by Middlewich-based Convert2Green. All three partners in the project are members of the Merseytravel-run North West Biofuels Network.

The B30 biodiesel mix includes 30% biodiesel from waste vegetable oil which reduces the overall carbon dioxide emissions from the buses by up to 25% compared to standard diesel.

Stagecoach launched the UK's first bio-buses in Kilmarnock in 2007. The services have been used by more than two million passengers and the project has saved 2,450 tonnes of carbon, with more than 70 tonnes of cooking oil being recycled.

Merseytravel said the trial in Liverpool, currently underway, is crucial to providing confidence in biofuels by UK bus operators, promoting a wider uptake of sustainably produced biofuels in the public transport network, and continuing progress as a low carbon and sustainable fuel source.

The trial results, which will be made available by Merseytravel, will monitor vehicle reliability and fuel consumption, with the lessons learnt being used to support other bus operators wanting to use sustainable biofuels.

Cllr Mark Dowd, chair of Merseytravel, added: "Not only will the trial help us to address carbon reduction; it will also help us develop a greater understanding of the benefits of new biofuel technology, which we will be able to share with Partners throughout the region.

Robert Andrew, Stagecoach regional director, added: "Sustainability is at the heart of our business. Public transport is one of the solutions to the global challenge of climate change and we believe that new technology, such as the use of bio-fuel, and pro-bus policies are crucial if we are to get people to switch from the car on to our greener smarter services."

Andy Webb, director of Convert2Green, said: "An additional benefit of the scheme is that the used cooking oil we collect and use for our fuels means less waste is sent to landfill or put down the drains, at great cost to the utility companies."

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