Can bus fleets in Norwich run on renewable fuels and so help to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from traffic in the city? Can we source fuels that are both high quality and renewable? How much carbon dioxide will so-called renewable fuels actually save? Will the use of biodiesel blends also reduce pollutant emissions, especially oxides of nitrogen that are the focus of the Castle Meadow Low Emission Zone in Norwich? What will be the impact on fuel economy? The University of East Anglia has been examining these questions as part of Civitas SMILE in partnership with local bus companies Anglian Bus and First Bus and other local fleet operators.
This Measure began with one partner based in Norfolk that was the UK\\\'s biggest manufacturer of biodiesel. The biodiesel was manufactured from used cooking oil and so promised very high greenhouse gas savings. The partner would deliver biodiesel to the bus company or fleet operator and top up the fuel tank to create the blend of fuel desired.As the Measure began, it became clear that the quality of the biodiesel fuel was not always of the standard essential for modern diesel engines and also that the blending process could cause some serious problems. It was necessary to establish a biodiesel laboratory to test for key parameters of biodiesel. We are now able to establish very quickly whether a sample of biodiesel will be acceptable and also to check the actual blend level of any biodiesel blend.Biodiesel is now sourced from a factory in Scotland that makes very high quality fuel from used oil and tallow and is shipped by road tanker to a fuel depot in King\\\'s Lynn, Norfolk, where it is stored and blended as required for delivery. The supply company has depots across the UK and the impact of this Measure is a completely new supply chain that can supply high quality biodiesel of any blend, up to 100 per cent, anywhere in Norfolk and potentially anywhere in the UK.Our Norfolk partners have successfully used biodiesel in buses and other vehicles at blend levels from five per cent up to pure biodiesel. We have set up exhaust monitoring systems to measure NO emissions as buses drive along the road to compare conventional diesel with biodiesel blends and pure biodiesel. As a result of this measure, for the first time, any fleet operator in Norfolk or beyond can now choose to use pure biodiesel or a biodiesel blend at any desired level in the confident knowledge that the fuel is of very high quality, will make a significant saving in greenhouse gas emissions, and is likely to improve pollutant emissions as well.