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Virgin Trains Launches Europe’s First B20 Biodiesel Train

7 June 2007

Virgin Trains introduced Europe’s first train using a B20 biodiesel blend fuel into scheduled passenger service.

The Virgin Trains trial is a major step in a UK national biodiesel program, conducted by Virgin Trains, the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) and the Rail Safety & Standards Board (RSSB), to pioneer a sustainable fuel breakthrough for the rail industry.

If the trial is a success—and we believe it will be—and we can convert our Voyager fleet to run on B20 biodiesel we could cut our CO2 emissions by up to 14 percent. We’re starting with 20 percent biodiesel and hope to increase this amount to 100 percent in the future.

—Sir Richard Branson

During the trial the biodiesel train—one of the company’s Voyager trains—will run across much of Britain, from Birmingham to Scotland, in South Wales, North East England, the North West, Lake District, West Country, the South West and South Coast.

If the trial is a success the current higher duty on biodiesel would mean changes to duty levels would be required for a viable conversion of the fleet to biodiesel operation, Virgin Trains warns. The UK Treasury made a concession for this trial, but the standard duty rate would be 54.68p per litre—considerably more than the 7.69p per litre duty paid by the rail industry for diesel—and would require legislation to change.

In addition to its Voyager diesel fleet, Virgin Trains also runs Pendolino electric trains that return 17% of the power they use to the national grid every time they brake, making the Pendolino fleet one of the most efficient in the world.

June 7, 2007 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

B20 is good but we need B100 on absolutely everything that runs on diesel engines immediately!

We actually don't need gasoline powered cars at all!

FS

Agreed. The real (commercial transportation) world runs on diesel, why not the personal transportation sector? Biodiesel can be phased in for virtually every present diesel use, allowing present and future diesel powerplants
to move us towards 100% renewables.
Gasoline has proven to be a dangerous and wasteful habit.

Biodiesel is great, and I agree that the entire diesel supply should start containing more and more biodiesel. However, people screaming for B100 are ignoring various technical/temperature issues, and more importantly, there's no way we're going to be able to grow enough plants, etc, to make everything B100. There have been studies (posted on this website, I believe) done on this suggesting biodiesel (and ethanol) blends on the order of roughly 10% would be reasonable, so please go back and read those first before demanding totally unrealistic goals.
And BTW, the same problem (plus additional ones) apply to those believing we should just magically switch everything to E85.

This program does nothing to get us off foreign
petrofuel. Trains need to be electric, fed from
breeder reactors.

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