There have been a lot of mishaps and setbacks when it comes to getting biofuels into car tanks in European forecourts. Renault promised B30 approval for its diesel line then backtracked; fuel retailer Morrisons pulled its biodiesel pumps in the UK and producers have had to watch from the sidelines while OEMs like Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors have built flex-fuel vehicles for North and South America, while limiting their offerings in Europe.
The European Biodiesel Board (EBB) has been frustrated by this and called the situation ‘curious’, knowing more vehicles compatible with high biofuel blends means a greater market for member gallons.
Indeed, securing the companionship of the automotive industry is invaluable when it comes to biofuels market expansion, and the EBB is involved in ongoing discussions with OEMs to prove that biofuels can provide a sustainable, secure, high-quality supply.
Progress is being made but there is still resistance. ‘The problem is that a large portion of the fleet is compatible with B7, but no car is compatible with B20,’ says Jakob Seiler, technical director for VDA, the German Vehicle Manufacturer’s Association.