Bioenergy

Biodiesel, Electric Make Better Transportation

Visitors to and residents of Toronto are getting a look at alternative vehicle technology at the 2004 Better Transportation Expo this week.

Toronto, Canada – September 14, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Biodiesel buses and an all-electric urban car are some of the expo highlights for the city. Toronto is taking steps to “Green the Bus Fleet”, and launched a CAD$740,000 (US$ 570,000) nine-month bio-fuel test on 180 of the city’s buses. The project will test a biodiesel fuel mix of vegetable oil and regular diesel as a method of improving the environmental performance in the Toronto Transit Commission service conditions, and evaluate the test results from other transit properties. “Although TTC buses meet current emission standards, we are intent on finding better ways to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions even further,” said TTC Chairman Howard Moscoe. Technical success will be measured by the absence of any mechanical or operating issues associated with the maintenance and driving of the buses. However, a final acceptance of the biodiesel fuel will depend on evaluations of various factors including the cost difference associated with the price per liter, because biodiesel will cost more, and the energy content per liter, because the output for biodiesel is less. Cost concerns will be compared against biodiesel’s environmental benefits during the study. “Bio-diesel is expected to provide environmental benefits resulting from lower emissions. This test is needed to confirm these expectations and to consider expanded use of bio-diesel across the entire bus fleet,” said TTC Chief General Manager Rick Ducharme. Drivers who want to take emissions considerations into their own hands will want to check out the Maya -100, an all-electric vehicle manufactured by Canadian mobile power solutions company Electrovaya. The car will be at the Toronto-Dominion Centre Courtyard until Wednesday September 15. The vehicle prototype is based on Lithium Ion Superpolymer battery technology, with an energy density of over 200 Wh per kilogram. It has a driving range of 300 km, 200 miles, on a full-battery charge, and a top speed of 140 kph, 80 mph. Electrovaya is marketing the vehicle as urban transportation, and the company claims it can meet the demands of regulations to lower vehicle emissions while many other companies are working to improve fuel cell technology for the automobile market. “The demand for a clean, emission-free, and non-fossil fueled vehicle has been growing tremendously. With easily adapted infrastructure and the continued uncertainties of fuel cell vehicles we believe the technology developed by Electrovaya provides the solution,” Chief Technology Officer James K. Jacobs said.