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Mobility Measure

Biodiesel trials

Trials conducted in and around Norwich provided a scientific evaluation of the implications of using bio-diesel in the UK.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Prior to measure implementation, there was no experience in the UK of running buses and other public service vehicles on biodiesel. A biodiesel laboratory was therefore set up to perform quality checks on biodiesel from different suppliers and a new supply chain of high-quality sustainable biodiesel was established, sourced from Argent Energy in Scotland and stored and distributed by Pace Petroleum at King's Lynn in Norfolk.

In cooperation with local fleet operators, biodiesel use was tested, and the fuel economy and exhaust emissions from different biofuel blends were analysed.

How did the measure progress?

The supply chain was established with heated and lagged storage tanks to prevent precipitation problems in cold weather. This brought sustainable, high-quality biodiesel to a region of the UK where previously only a poor-quality product had been available. Sustainable biodiesel can be stored in all weathers and any desired blend can by supplied by road tanker. As a result, biodiesel became available to any transport fleet within a reasonable distance of the King’s Lynn depot.

Exhaust-monitoring equipment was fitted on buses to measure emissions of nitrogen oxides in real time on the road on a local bus route.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

Testing of B20 fuel, a 20 percent of biodiesel and conventional diesel, suggested that it would be the optimal fuel for use in Norwich: it remains useable in the coldest weather; fuel economy is unchanged compared to the use of ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD); and emissions of nitrogen oxides were apparently lower than for  ULSD in the road trials undertaken.

Basic Information

November 2011

Thematic Areas