The bio-fuel cars of tomorrow could be closer than we think with the Victorian government recently announcing the formation of a consortium including, Caltex, Holden, & Coskata. The group will investigate the viability of creating an ethanol production plant in Victoria. This plant could produce up to 200 million litres of ethanol annually for cars powered on the ethanol based bio-fuel E85. This alternative fuel consists of 85% ethanol and 15% regular petrol and has various positive effects on the environment.
If proven viable Coskata will provide the fuel processing plant, Caltex the fuelling stations and Holden the cars. Coskata has had success in the US but has been searching for local government funding in Australia since April 2009, claiming the banks where not interested until an existing plant was active and turning a profit. Luckily the Victorian government couldn’t wait to jump on board with Chief Marketing Officer Wes Bolsen describing the government’s interest as ‘very aggressive’.
GM has worked with Coskata producing ethanol in the US, so naturally Holden was the first option in for partnership. Holden are taking a leadership role in the bio-fuel movement with E85 compatible cars set to be released by the end of the year. Caltex has already ventured into the bio-fuel market with E10. They now plan to make 30 E85 pumps available by July this year with a further 100 available by mid 2011.
Last year the Chief Marketing Officer of Coskata Wes Bolsen had a vision.
“What we're looking at, in Australia, is a true partnership -- coming together -- between government, automaker & flexible technology ….”
Looks like Bolsen doesn’t waste any time, with his vision set to bear fruits in the coming months.
It will be interesting to see whether this multifaceted solution actually proves viable during the investigation. A fuel alternative that not only reduces C02 but solves another environmental problem, landfill, seems to good to be true. Bolsen claims that they can get the price per litre down to $1.25AU per litre. This might not be impressive now but the increasing fuel price trend could make this price very appealing in a couple of years .With the North American market already running over 3.5million E85 cars the question might be ‘why didn’t we do this sooner?’.