First the buses. Now the cars. Transport is getting ever greener in Shanghai.
Now private vehicles are able to run on a mixture of biodiesel fuels following more than 100 buses already on Shanghai roads that are doing so.
Two Sinopec gas stations, in Fengxian District and the Pudong New Area, started offering the B5 hybrid fuel to the public yesterday in a trial.
The fuel is a combination of 95 percent of regular diesel and 5 percent biodiesel, which is made from swill oil. Regular diesel is priced at 6.02 yuan (91 US cents) per liter, while the hybrid fuel is 5.72 yuan, which includes a 5 percent discount to encourage more people to use it.
Twenty sanitation trucks were fueled with biodiesel at the Fengxian Sinopec station yesterday, each being filled up with 60 liters. The station has already stored 10 tons of the hybrid fuel.
"The scheme is energy efficient, and it also helps prevent swill oil from being collected and flowing onto dining tables," said Zheng Shusong, deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai Food Safety Commission, which coordinates the project.
The major concern from drivers is the safety and performance of biodiesel.
"The B5 hybrid fuel has almost the same performance in driving force and consumption as regular diesel based on our research results on more than 100 buses which have already been powered by the fuel," Zheng said.
Lou Diming, head of the Internal Combustion Engine Research Institute from Tongji University, said the buses did not experience any problems after using the fuel.
"In addition, their discharge of heavy metal and fine particulate matters dropped more than 10 percent compared with those using regular diesel," Lou said.
There are 104 buses powered by biodiesel fuel in Shanghai as of the end of September, and they had run 15.61 million kilometers in total, using 5.84 million liters of the combined fuel. Thirty-two sanitation trucks, which are also using the B5 hybrid fuel, had run 83,100 kilometers in total, consuming 23,800 liters of the fuel.
In Shanghai, an estimated 150 tons of swill oil are produced every day.
Biodiesel fueling will be used on freighters on Yangtze River, and more gas stations in the city are expected to provide the fuel in the future, said Yang Jingsong, director of the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration.