Bus firm calls off biofuel trial
A major bus company has abandoned UK trials of biodiesel because of concerns over the sustainability of the fuel production process.
National Express Group says it is halting the trial on its UK buses until so-called 'second generation' biofuels, which use non food crops such as wood chips and straw, are available or issues relating to the sustainability of the production have been addressed.
The move follows an internal review of the benefits of biofuels and consultation with a number of environmental organisations including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF and the Climate Group who have also raised a number of issues associated with the use of first generation biofuels.
In 2006 NX's Spanish business Alsa ran a trial of with 10 per cent biodiesel blend in its bus operations in Oviedo. This year's UK trial would have used blends incorporating up to 30 per cent biodiesel.
Chief Executive Richard Bowker said: "Biofuels may well have a role to play in helping us reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases arising from transport operations in the future. We are not dismissing the role they may play in the future, but based on the evidence today I think it is vital that we wait for issues relating to the sustainability of supply are resolved before we press ahead with trials of biodiesel.
"Moving forward, we will work with our supply chain to ensure that there will be proven technology available which we can use for second generation biofuels when these are available in a few years' time. The issue with biofuels is complex and what appears to be the green option may not actually be green after all."
Last month rival bus group Arriva began trials of a 20 per cent biodiesel blend on buses in Northumberland, and Virgin is currently testing a biofuel train.
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