Södertälje, Sweden, 03-Sep-2018 — /EuropaWire/ — The vineyards of Bordeaux are doubtless best known for the fine wines they produce. But they are getting things right in more ways than one. With grape marc, the residue produced in the wine-making process, being used to make biofuel, transport operator Citram Aquitaine is running the ED95-driven Scania’s Interlink LD Euro 6 bus between Bordeaux and Blaye.
Citram Aquitaine is a transport operator for our times, committed to sustainable methods of energy transition. In an experimental bid to move away from fossil-free transport, it is now testing Scania’s Interlink LD Euro 6 bus on its intercity 201 route between Bordeaux and Blaye: a vehicle adapted to long-distance travel which is powered by bioethanol produced by Raisinor France Alcools.
“We have to be at the forefront of innovation,” says Nicolas Raud, director of Citram Aquitaine. “I believe that the ability of a carrier to reconsider its energy mix is essential.”
The environmentally sound bus is hard to miss, with the proud message “I run on bioethanol produced from grape marc” emblazoned on its side.
“We were immediately drawn to Raisinor and Scania’s proposal of locally produced, environmentally friendly power, so we asked to be involved in the experiment to measure the efficiency and viability of this solution,” says Raud.
Partnership for the planet
The collaboration between Scania and Citram is enabled by the key contribution of Raisinor France Alcools, which supplies the biofuel required to run the experiment. In a bold and ambitious move, Raisinoor has brought together the French wine cooperatives, with Union Coopératives Vinicoles d’Aquitaine (UCVA) producing 100,000 tonnes of grape marc every year on its site at Coutras in the Gironde department, which is in the Bordeaux wine-making region.
“Their production potential would supply 1,000 vehicles locally,” says Jérôme Budua, Director of Raisinor France Alcools.
Citram on sustainability
Established in 1921 as a private company, Citram has been the main passenger transport company in the Gironde department for years.
“We are responsible for 80 percent of intercity operations in Gironde,” says Raud. “This covers 42 routes, some of which play a pivotal role in the network, completing up to 19 return journeys a day.”
As the trailblazer of cutting-edge coaches offering services such as Wi-Fi, electrical sockets, and on-board TV, Citram is now busy thinking about a sustainable methods of energy transition.
“By using the waste products from our local wine industry to manufacture the fuel that is used in some of our vehicles locally, we are joining the green intelligence movement,” says Raud.
Commitment to alternative energy at a cost
A vehicle running on ED95 consumes more because the energy output of ethanol is half that of diesel, and it is more expensive to buy compared with a diesel vehicle: “To cause less pollution, we must accept the bill,” says Raud. “Reappraising our fleet of vehicles by investing in alternative energy can only be done with the support of the region, and we know that the region views this approach favourably. It is up to us to suggest an economically acceptable energy mix.
“Bioethanol and gas allow us to develop an energy mix that is suitable for our area. In our network, some remote places do not have and probably will never have a petrol station with gas. They could easily accommodate this locally produced, ecologically relevant energy.”
Scania’s Interlink: a bus for an environmental boost
Comfortable, strong, well finished, the Scania Interlink is suitable for use as a school bus as well as on scheduled transport routes. The “green” benefits of the bioethanol-fuelled bus are undeniable. “The bioethanol/diesel comparison is irrefutable, with 85 per cent fewer carbon emissions, 50 percent less nitrogen oxides and 70 per cent fewer particulates,” says Budua.
And so while bioethanol is more demanding than diesel, requiring shorter oil change intervals and maintenance/service periods, Scania offers a wealth of experience with this fuel, having operated biofuel buses in Sweden since the 1990s.
Why Raisinor and Scania go back a long way
It was during the 1990s that Raisonor signed its initial contact with Scania, supplying bioethanol for buses in Sweden.
Their partnership was solidified in 2009 with the arrival of the European directive encouraging the use of ethanol in fuel (E85 or SP95-E10). “From that time, we discovered the benefits of launching biofuel in France,” says Budua. We had to obtain approval for bioethanol in France. We are now talking of a second-generation bioethanol which stands out from the first-generation alcohol produced from beetroot and cereals.”
SOURCE: Volkswagen AG
Senior Vice President Scania AB
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