Swedish buses run on E95

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

A growing number of buses in Sweden offer extremely low carbon emissions and cleaner air in Stockholm and other urban centers, thanks to the DC9-E02 engine from Scania Motors, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks and buses for heavy transport applications, and of industrial and marine engines. The engine, based on diesel technology, runs on 95 percent corn-based ethanol.

Scania Engineer Andre Olson completed his Masters in Engineering degree at the University of Minnesota where he studied the use of alcohol fuel in diesel engines, a research project funded by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. He now plays a key role on Scania’s E95 engine team.

 A Swedish fuel maker, SEKAB, produces the E95, from corn.

The E95 engine offers a number of advantages, according to Olson, including compliance with the latest carbon emissions rules from the European Union. The engine increases brake power and brake torque, and offers a higher compression ratio. Turbocharge technology allows the reduction of displaced volume, while maintaining the power needed for safe and convenient operation of city buses.

“On a performance basis, I would say that the ED95 engine is pretty much on the same level as an equivalent Scania diesel-fueled engine,” said Olson. “The peak thermal efficiencies are about the same. In Sweden there’s a strong interest in renewable energy, for environmental reasons and also because they want to minimize the oil dependence.”

Unfortunately, the engine maker has no current plans to market its ED95 engine in the United States. However, if the pendulum once again swings strongly in favor of energy independence through farm-based renewable energy–a concept pioneered by corn grower leaders in Minnesota–who can predict whether Scania might change its mind. After all, it looks like a perfect fit for the US Corn Belt–technology designed not just to accommodate ethanol fuel, but to capitalize on its unique and environmentally-friendly characteristics.

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