Raisinor France Alcools is producing ED95 bioethanol out of grape marc, sourced from French wine cooperatives. Union Coopératives Vinicoles d’Aquitaine or UCVA produces 100,000 tonnes of grape marc per year in Bordeaux, and that could be turned into enough bio-ethanol to power a thousand vehicles — according to Raisinor France Alcools’ director, Jérôme Budua.
Transport operator Citram Aquitaine is now running a Scania bus on the route between Bordeaux and Blaye, with the bus using ED95 bio-ethanol made from local winery waste. ED95 fuel consists of 95 percent pure ethanol, and the rest is additives such as ignition improver, lubricant and corrosion protection, all of which are important when using bio-ethanol. Reportedly, ED95 produces low particulate emissions, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons compared to regular diesel, which certainly has its merits in bus transport. “The bioethanol/diesel comparison is irrefutable, with 85 per cent fewer carbon emissions, 50 percent less nitrogen oxides and 70 per cent fewer particulates,” says Budua.
A downside is ethanol’s lower energy output, meaning that a bioethanol bus will run its tanks dry quicker. But for a wine-producing region, it makes perfect sense to supply its public transport solutions with byproducts of something the region is globally known for. “Bioethanol and gas allow us to develop an energy mix that is suitable for our area. In our network, some remote places do not have and probably will never have a petrol station with gas. They could easily accommodate this locally produced, ecologically relevant energy,” says Citram Aquitaine’s Nicolas Raud. The bus running on wine waste has been suitably decorated for the occasion, as its graphics proclaim, “I run on bioethanol produced from grape marc.”