Stagecoach to blend own biofuel on site in UK first

20 June 2011  •  Source: Stagecoach

Stagecoach has become the first UK bus company to mix its own biofuel on site using a new bio-blender installed at its Kilmarnock depot.

The introduction of the high-tech kit will see around 100 buses in the west of Scotland operating on up to 40% biofuel which will be mixed on site.

The Perth-based transport group has invested £75,000 in the new technology and has also worked closely with Argent Energy in the delivery of the project. The blender was supplied by Fuel Additive Technology (FAT) Biofuels while the pump was manufactured by Solution Specialists Limited (SSL).

Currently, the vast majority of Stagecoach’s 8,100-strong bus fleet operates using a mix of 5% biofuel and 95% standard diesel. The new bio-blender will enable buses at Kilmarnock depot to run on a greener mix of up to 40% biofuel and 60% standard diesel.

The bio-blender has a computerised control unit which allows trained Stagecoach staff to set the blend of fuel that is required as this can change dependent on the air temperature.

The new initiative follows the launch of the UK’s first bio-buses in Kilmarnock in 2007 – nine vehicles which run on 100% biofuel made from used cooking oil and other food industry by-products.

The bio-bus project, which also allows customers to exchange their used cooking oil for discounted bus travel, has reduced CO2 emissions from the vehicles by 80%, saving more than 2450 tonnes of carbon. More than 70 tonnes of used cooking oil has been recycled at East Ayrshire Council’s recycling plant since the start of the scheme.

Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, Les Warneford said: “We have had great success in Kilmarnock with the bio-buses which have helped us reduce our own carbon footprint and attract more people on to greener transport. The installation of this bio-blender means the rest of the vehicles at the depot can now run on up to 40% biofuel, making it one of the greenest bus fleets in the country.

“We are working hard to become a more sustainable business by introducing new technology and trialling new ideas, and we look forward to attracting even more passengers on to our greener, smarter bus services in the west of Scotland.”

The blended biofuel will be used in vehicles serving routes in Kilmarnock and Irvine as well as Service 11 to Ardrossan and express services to Glasgow.

The bio-blender initiative is the latest in a string of measures being taken by Stagecoach to reduce its carbon footprint as a business.

The Group has launched a sustainability strategy and is investing £11million in a range of measures to meet its environmental targets. The Group is targeting an overall reduction of 8% in buildings CO2 emissions and a cut of 3% in annual fleet transport CO2e emissions by 2014.

Last year, Stagecoach Group was awarded the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard after taking action on climate change by measuring and reducing its carbon emissions. Stagecoach is the first Scottish-based transport group – and one of only two listed UK public transport operators – to have achieved the stretching carbon reduction benchmark. It covers all of the Group’s bus and rail operations in the UK.

Most recently, Stagecoach launched a fleet of 11 buses in Lincoln that operate on biomethane, derived from household rubbish and animal waste and could reduce carbon emissions by up to 40% as well as cutting fuel consumption.

Stagecoach is leading the way on investing in greener vehicles and has placed orders for 142 hybrid electric buses in the past year which deliver a 30% reduction in carbon emissions compared to standard vehicles. Hybrid electric vehicles are already in operation in Oxford and Manchester and more will be introduced across the UK within the next 12 months.

The company has also announced a multi-million-pound investment in a hi-tech eco-driving system, by Green Road, which is expected to reduce fuel consumption at its bus division by 4%. The scheme also offers employees the chance to earn “green points” that are converted into financial benefits from a potential £900,000 annual bonus pot.

During the company’s recent annual Green Week, Stagecoach launched a £500,000 project to fit new, greener engines in some of its mid-life buses to prolong the life of the vehicles.

The company is also installing a new ‘intelligent’ lighting system – which uses movement sensors to determine the amount of light required – at six bus depots across the UK. Based on previous trials, it is expected that the system could reduce the energy consumption used on lighting at the six depots by around 40% as a result of the ‘intelligent’ nature of the technology. This would produce an annual saving of more than 373,000kilowatts per hour (KWh) and save almost 230 tonnes of CO2 over the course of a year.

For further information about Stagecoach bus services, visit www.stagecoachbus.com

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