What is Bioethanol?

In the search for a source of renewable energy, Bioethanol is emerging as viable alternative fuel for motor vehicles.

Already popular in Brazil, Bioethanol is an alcohol produced by fermenting crops such as wheat or sugar beet, blended with conventional fuel (commonly 85% ethanol and 15% petrol).

Bioethanol is also capable of reducing carbon dioxide (co2) emissions by 70%. This is not achieved through reduced exhaust emissions (which are similar to conventional fuels) but because the crops used to manufacture the fuel absorb co2 from the atmosphere as they grow.

Bioethanol is unusual amongst alternative fuels in that it actually improves performance. It has a higher octane rating than petrol, which means that engines produce more power.

Only minor modifications are required to enable engines to run on Bioethanol and both Ford and Saab are already producing vehicles which can run on Bioethanol or petrol (or any combination of the two) without further modification.

Although relatively few service stations stock Bioethanol, this is likely to increase as the Government's renewable transport fuel obligation states that 5% of all car fuel must come from renewable sources by 2010.