Government tests vegetable oil as low emissions diesel replacement

The Government is investigating the benefits of swapping diesel for 'paraffinic fuels', which include vegetable oil and other biofuels

Honda Civic Type R GT - fuel

Diesel cars in the UK could soon be running on vegetable oil under emissions reduction plans being explored by the Government.

Highways England is investigating the environmental benefits of swapping traditional diesel for ‘paraffinic fuels’, which include natural gas or woodchips converted to liquid and treated vegetable oil. Around 5% of UK diesel is currently made up of biofuels like these but there is potential to increase that.

In its own air quality strategy, the agency said it had carried out “a study to test the emissions from vehicles using a paraffinic fuel, which could be an alternative for all diesel engines”.

Car buyers experiencing diesel doubt after emissions uproar

Paraffinic fuels are liquid fuels that can be used as direct replacements for diesel while reducing NOx and particulate emissions, which are harmful to health.

Oil company Shell has developed its own gas-to-liquid (GTL) paraffinic fuel, converting natural gas into a diesel alternative that would otherwise be made from crude oil. The firm claims the fuel reduces NOx emissions by up to 37% compared to traditional diesel when used in buses and lorries.

Highways England also said it was exploring the possibility of covering motorways with tunnels to trap car fumes.

'Petrol and diesel ban exposes gaping holes in the Government's understanding'

A Highways England spokesperson said: “The best solution to accommodating the extra traffic on our roads, without negatively impacting on air quality, is cleaner low-emission vehicles. In the meantime we are investing £100 million to test new ideas including less-polluting fuels and road barriers which can absorb harmful emissions.”

Tyre company Continental recently revealed its own ‘super clean’ diesel technology capable of reducing real-world emissions by 60 per cent. Engineers developed an electrified after-treatment system capable of cutting NOx emissions by two thirds.

Would you run your diesel car on vegetable oil? Tell us in the comments

Recommended

Coroner calls for smart motorway review following M1 deaths
smart motorway
News

Coroner calls for smart motorway review following M1 deaths

The deaths of two men in a smart motorway collision could have been avoided if there had been a hard shoulder, coroner rules
19 Jan 2021
Councils to get new powers to issue fines for traffic offences
Box junction
Consumer news

Councils to get new powers to issue fines for traffic offences

Local authorities will be able to fine drivers who commit moving traffic contraventions under legislation being drawn up
18 Jan 2021
UK drivers to escape EU speed camera fines due to Brexit
Citroen DS Eiffel Tower
Consumer news

UK drivers to escape EU speed camera fines due to Brexit

UK’s departure from the European Union puts an end to cross-border directive, leaving EU countries unable to enforce speeding penalties for drivers ca…
13 Jan 2021
Driverless car users may not be liable in accidents
Jaguar Land Rover autonomous testing - static
Consumer news

Driverless car users may not be liable in accidents

Law Commission proposes motorists in driverless cars should be renamed “users in charge” as part of “no-blame culture”
18 Dec 2020

Most Popular

'MG's sales must rank as the success story of the year, possibly the decade'
MG 2020
Opinion

'MG's sales must rank as the success story of the year, possibly the decade'

Mike Rutherford says plenty of big car brands could learn from MG's focus on cheap cars
17 Jan 2021
Brawny new Ford Ranger MS-RT launched
Ford Ranger MS-RT - front
Ford Ranger

Brawny new Ford Ranger MS-RT launched

Ford’s long-standing aftermarket partner, MS-RT, has launched a tweaked version of the Ranger with an aggressive body kit
18 Jan 2021
New 2022 Smart electric SUV to rival Peugeot e-2008
Smart SUV - front (watermarked)
Smart

New 2022 Smart electric SUV to rival Peugeot e-2008

The new Smart SUV will use an electric platform developed by Geely and our exclusive images preview how it could look
18 Jan 2021