UPM and VTT are piloting a wood-based diesel fuel called UPM BioVerno in the capital region’s buses together with Helsinki Region Transport (HRT).
UPM and VTT will test what the effects of the UPM BioVerno diesel will have on the bus motor, emissions and mileage, compared to fossil diesel fuel. The tests began in October 2015 and will last for at least 12 months.
“We are extremely pleased to be involved in this trial aiming at Helsinki Region Transport’s emission-free public transport. The objective is to replace fossil fuels with renewable biofuels,” says Sari Mannonen, Sales and Marketing Executive at UPM Biofuels.
UPM Biofuels and VTT are piloting a wood-based UPM BioVerno diesel on the capital region’s buses.
Land, sea and air
The bus tests are a part of a larger BioPilot project coordinated by VTT. The goal of this project is to encourage companies to commercialise renewable energy traffic solutions.
According to Nils-Olof Nylund, Research Professor at VTT, the benefit of drop-in fuels like the UPM BioVerno is that they can be used as such in the fuel distribution infrastructures and cars and also in future vehicles.
Professor Nylund thinks new sustainable biofuels can act as the fast lane for Finland in terms of carbon dioxide reduction. Investing in Finnish biofuel production is profitable also from a technological and financial viewpoint.
“Finland uses almost four million tons of fuel for traffic a year, while the production capacity of biofuels is 500,000 tons a year, or a little of 10% of the total fuel use. In this respect Finland is streets ahead of other countries,” he says.
“Biofuels can replace not only oil-based fuels in road traffic, but also in marine and air transports,” he adds.
VTT has previously tested the Finnish UPM BioVerno diesel in both passenger car and bus engines with good results, so the bus field tests are a continuation of long-term development with UPM.
“Biofuels can act as the fast lane for Finland in terms of carbon dioxide reduction,” says VTT’s Nils-Olof Nylund.
Many research institutions have run engine and vehicle trials and bus field tests using the UPM BioVerno diesel with good results. The studies show that the fuel works best when used like fossil diesel fuels, at the same time reducing local emissions significantly.
“During its life cycle, UPM BioVerno diesel’s carbon dioxide emissions are up to 80 per cent lower than those of fossil diesel. Studies have also shown that the fuel’s local emissions, such as carbon monoxide and particulate emissions were lower, translating in effect to better air quality,” says Sari Mannonen.
“In the first phase of the bus tests, the buses were running on a mixture in which the UPM BioVerno accounted for 20%. Since April, we have been testing with a 50% mixture. The objective is to run buses on a diesel that is 100% renewable wood-based diesel later this year.
“The latest results show that UPM BioVerno diesel also reduces exhaust emissions considerably,” says Sari Mannonen of UPM.
Towards emission-free city traffic
Helsinki Region Transport, which is in charge of public transport in the capital region, aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions and harmful particulate emissions by over 90 per cent by 2025.
“An increase in public transport is a key element in terms of sustainability, so these modern biofuels fit our strategy extremely well, because they can be adopted right away. Our target is that by 2020 diesel buses will run exclusively on renewable biofuels,” says Reijo Mäkinen, Director of HRT’s Transport Services Department.
The trials are run using four Volvo Euro VI Class buses, having low emissions and efficient engines, operated by Transdev. Two of the buses run on UPM BioVerno and two on ordinary diesel. Both VTT and the bus manufacturer Volvo will test all the field test buses before the test, halfway through and afterwards.
“Environmental care is one of Volvo’s three core values alongside quality and safety, so thanks to these trial runs we are at the cutting edge of development also in this field,” says Tom Rönnberg, Product Technics and Technical Support, Buses and Coaches of Volvo.
“The new Volvo Euro VI Class buses must have an exhaust gas after-treatment system operating also when the bus is in motion. The cleaner the fuel that is used to run the engine, the more seldom any cleaning is reduced, which is a benefit both for the vehicle and in terms of maintenance expenses,” he adds.
St1 was the fuel distributor for the tests. UPM BioVerno has been available since spring 2015 at St1 stations as a component of the Diesel Plus fuel.