Diesel manifestos are "short sighted", says scientist

Written by: Devin Walker | Published:

The head of a team of renewable fuel scientists says he is concerned that "current party manifestos clearly demonstrate politicians’ lack of understanding of true fuel emissions and engine efficiency".

Devin Walker, chief technical officer of London-based Renovare Fuels, says that the information being provided to UK policymakers is often limited in scope. Walker is a developer in new technology used to convert biogas from organic waste into petrol, diesel and even jet fuel, tested and approved to ASTM standards.

"Natural gas and petrol do produce less nitrogen oxide (NOx) but relying on these forms of fuel would be at the expense of vehicle engine power and fuel efficiencies," argues Walker.

"In comparison to petrol engines, diesel vehicles can operate up to 30% more efficiently. Petrol engines produce less NOx, but because around 30% more fuel is needed to generate the same amount of energy, this ultimately leads to a higher accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere

"For accuracy, we should not be simply measuring emissions from vehicles but also emissions from processing and distribution of fuel

"New NG fuelling stations would cost around £1.4m each to construct, while new diesel stations would cost around £116,000 each. Upgrading a bus fleet to NG would cost between £23,000 and £77,000 more per bus, compared to diesel fleets.

"Recent research has shown that in trials, well-to-wheel annual GHG emissions increased up to 13.3 tons of CO₂ equivalents per NG bus, compared to a diesel bus

"We should not focus on scrapping diesel vehicles but continue to develop exhaust treatment systems which break down nitrogen and oxygen into their individual components; allowing the retrofit of current diesel engines at a fraction of the proposed scrappage cost

"Continued development of clean diesel technologies which convert biomass and waste to diesel fuel would also offer zero net carbon emission, in line with the government’s plan for all vehicles to be zero emission by 2050

"The two strategies together would offer billions of pounds in fuel infrastructure savings, continued efficiency gains and reductions of not just NOx emissions but total GHG life-cycle emissions from well-to-wheel."

Renovare Fuels has developed and trialled the world’s first technological process which enables biogas produced from organic waste in UK anaerobic digestion facilities, UK landfills and industry to be processed directly into liquid fuel in the form of petrol and diesel through a carbon neutral process. According to Renovare Fuels, the technology, which is scheduled to become commercially available later this year, produces fuel in a ready-to-use form without the need for any engine modifications.


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