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Morrisons launches B30 biodiesel into mainstream

Date: 31 October 2007   |   Author: Nick Gibbs

Biodiesel is poised to become a fleet-acceptable green fuel with the news that Morrisons is to launch a 30% blend and that Vauxhall has certified its use for all Euro4 Vivaro and Movano vans.

The certification also includes partner vans from Renault and Nissan. Meanwhile, Ford is undergoing trials to approve 30% biodiesel usage for all its diesel engines, and Peugeot and Citroen have already given their blessing for so-called B30 use in all their HDi diesel engines.

In a rare synergy between fuel supplier, forecourt, manufacturer and fleet customer, Vauxhall's certification was prompted by a request from BSkyB. The green-leaning media giant ordered 1700 Vivaros via Lombard Vehicle Management over three years, and wanted to run them on the 30% blend.

Vauxhall, along with Renault, then set out to find a suitable blend, finally settling on B30 from Harvest Energy after requesting a number of chemical changes. Morrisons already sells Harvest's E85 bioethanol and agreed to trial the B30, which Harvest claims will reduce overall CO2 output by 18%.

The cost of the fuel is expected to match that of regular diesel. Unlike E85 bioethanol, the diesel blend doesn't significantly affect fuel economy, and in some cases can improve it.

The Morrisons launch will be initially low-key to aid the BSkyB trial, which will last six months as the company tests out the fuel on a select number of Vivaros. During that time drivers will take notes and Vauxhall will monitor the fuel's impact on the engine, including removing the fuel filters every 5000 miles.

BSkyB wants to become the world's first carbon-neutral media company.