One of Saab’s clear messages at the Sexy Green Car Show is that more prominence must be given to the opportunities being generated by second generation biofuels. David Pugh, General Manager, Sales & Marketing Strategy, Saab Great Britain Ltd, is adamant: ‘We cannot give up the challenge of making biofuels a viable alternative to fossil fuels just because there is a whole lot of confusion around about the alleged conflicts with food production. For example, one of the main contributors to the increased demand for grain is not biofuels but an increased trend towards a more protein-rich diet in Asia.’
Saab believes that the move towards second generation biofuels should continue at full pace. These fuels can use, for example, waste by-products from agricultural production rather than the main crop. ‘Over 5 years, enough bioethanol could be produced from 50% of waste straw from UK cereal production to achieve 10% blending with all petrol supplied in the UK and sufficient to power an additional 10% of new car sales on E85 from domestic sources,’ said Pugh.
In the US, GM has formed a partnership with Coskata, a second generation biofuel provider. This partnership allows us to fully understand ethanol development and how to rapidly and efficiently expand production in a manner that maximises the environmental benefit. The Coskata process uses waste to create bioethanol, so arguments about land use change, food vs fuel, sustainability, etc., are irrelevant. The Coskata process uses less water per gallon of ethanol than current processes. For every unit of energy used, it creates up to 7.7 times that amount of energy and, on a well-to-wheel basis, compared to conventional petrol, the process reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 84%.
The 9-X BioHybrid
The 9-X BioHybrid’s expressive looks, responsible performance and high tech communications, wrapped in a sporty, fun-to-drive package reflect the uncompromising needs of today’s consumer. Incorporating Saab’s innovative BioPower technology, with an in-built solar cell and design features such as camera-enhanced mirrors, 3-D graphics cockpit and a 4-point seatbelt, the Saab 9-X BioHybrid is a true fusion of sexy design and responsible performance.
Optimised for E85 fuel, the Saab 9-X is intelligently powered: running on E85, the small 1.4 litre BioPower turbo engine generates an astonishing 200hp and 280Nm of torque, as well as reduced emissions compared to petrol. With a full flex-fuel capability, it is a rightsizing formula backed by GM’s next generation hybrid technology, combining electric power boost, regenerative braking, fuel cut-off and automatic engine re-start. On petrol, over the combined cycle, this means CO2 emissions of 117g/km and fuel consumption at 57.6mpg, while CO2 emissions on E85 are projected to be even lower, at just 105g/km. The 9-X BioHybrid also harnesses power from the sun. The solar cell in the glass roof uses this free energy by adding charge to the battery pack whether the vehicle is parked or being driven.