Volkswagen tests new biofuel alternative to conventional diesel

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Volkswagen has been testing the newly developed R33 BlueDiesel fuel at its in-house filling station in Wolfsburg, Germany, since January 2018. The innovative fuel enables CO2 savings of at least 20% compared with conventional diesel thanks to the use of biofuels. It will also enable major customers to achieve climate protection goals with their fleets.

Volkswagen employees tested the new fuel initially. Over a period of nine months, they filled up company vehicles with R33 BlueDiesel only. Up to one-third of the new fuel consists of renewable fuel components.

The R33 concept was jointly developed by Volkswagen, Coburg University and other project partners. Shell Global Solutions has been supplying the fuel since January in cooperation with Tecosol and Neste, which supply fuels certified according to European standards. R33 BlueDiesel complies with diesel standard DIN EN 590 and fulfills all criteria for use as a standard fuel without having to meet further requirements.

Chips play an important role in the production of raw materials for biofuels as cooking fat is used, which would then normally be disposed of after use. However, modern processes make it possible to sensibly utilize the waste. The fat is filtered, cleaned and processed into a paraffin mixture or biodiesel, which is then added to the basic diesel. R33 BlueDiesel, for example, has a bio content of up to 33% based exclusively on residual and waste materials. At least 20% CO2 can therefore be saved compared with conventional diesel fuel. The fuel can also be used in diesel vehicles without the engine needing to be converted – as it fully complies with the diesel fuel standard.

Following the successful test phase, R33 BlueDiesel is now being used permanently at Volkswagen’s filling stations in Wolfsburg, and testing has also begun at the Volkswagen plant in Salzgitter. Introduction at further locations is planned.

Project manager Prof. Thomas Garbe from Volkswagen’s development department, said, “The response to R33 BlueDiesel has been very encouraging for Volkswagen and its project partners. R33 BlueDiesel is particularly suitable for companies that rely on diesel vehicles due to their long fuel ranges and still want to achieve their environmental goals. We are preparing for a significant increase in demand for liquid fuels from residual materials and for advanced biofuels in the medium term. I hope that public filling stations will also be offering R33 as ‘green premium’ in the near future.”

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Rachel's career in journalism has seen her write for various titles at UKi Media & Events within automotive, tire and marine. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the groundbreaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of transportation.

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