Ford introduces flexi-fuel vehicle to UK

Wed 09 February 2005 View all news

Ford has introduced a vehicle capable of running on a mix of 85% bioethanol and 15% petrol to the UK. The company plans to bring 40 similar vehicles in Spring 2006.

The 1.8 litre Ford Focus can run on either E85 bioethanol (blend of 85 per cent ethanol/15 per cent petrol) or petrol in the same fuel tank in any mix.

The vehicles are being introduced in Somerset where locally-grown wheat will be used to produce the bioethanol.

Wessex Grain is planning to build a new bioethanol production plant next to an existing grain storage site in Henstridge. The facility will be able to convert 340,000 tonnes of wheat into 131,000,000 litres of ethanol a year at full capacity from 2007.

In the short term, bioethanol powering the Focus FFVs arriving next year will be supplied by Wessex Grain from crops grown locally and processed elsewhere.

The vehicles will be run by Somerset County Council, Wessex Grain, Avon and Somerset Police and Wessex Water who are all members of the Somerset Biofuel Project.

In Sweden, where 80 per cent of Focus models sold are flexi-fuel vehicles, bioethanol costs over 40 per cent less than petrol. The Somerset project draws on Sweden's experience of establishing regional bioethanol distribution networks.

The LowCVP recently commissioned a study which looked at the the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions resulting from different methods of producing bioethanol from wheat. The study concluded that bioethanol can offer useful greenhouse gas benefits, but how the fuel is made and how its by-products are used strongly affects the energy and greenhouse gas balance of the final product.

Related Links

Reuters story link
Download LowCVP bioethanol report (379kb)

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