Saab BioPower - Powerful and Clean with Bioethanol

Saab BioPower - Powerful and Clean with Bioethanol  
Filed under:
Technology, General Motors
on 06/13/2006

Source: General Motors GM

For many years, General Motors has focused on bioethanol as an alternative to conventional gasoline and diesel fuels. Today, GM is one of the world's leading manufacturers of vehicles that run on the biofuel E85. Currently there are 1.5 million GM "FlexFuel" models in the USA, and by the end of 2006, this number will reach almost two million.

In 2005, Saab became the first European premium automaker to offer a vehicle powered by bioethanol, an eco-friendly renewable energy source. Following its launch in Sweden, the Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower is now also available in Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, with sales in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands beginning during 2006. The Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower is not only more environmentally friendly, it also produces more power than its gasoline equivalent (180 hp compared to 150 hp) because bioethanol, with a much higher octane rating (104 RON), is considerably more knock-resistant than gasoline, making it ideally suited to turbocharged engines.

BioPower is not only an extremely pro-environmental fuel, it is also very practical. Should no bioethanol be available, the engine can run on any bioethanol-gasoline mix, as well as on pure gasoline. A renewable energy source, bioethanol is produced commercially from agricultural crops. Unlike gasoline, which is produced from oil, bioethanol combustion releases considerably less carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, reducing CO2 emissions by up to 90 percent compared with fossil gasoline. This is because emissions from its combustion are balanced by the amount of CO2 that is removed from the atmosphere when the crops are grown. In Sweden, bioethanol is currently mixed (85 percent bioethanol with 15 percent gasoline) and sold as E85.

The Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower engine that runs on E85 produces 180 hp and maximum torque of 280 Nm, instead of the 150 hp and 240 Nm of its gasoline counterpart. This makes for a much sportier performance, with just 8.5 seconds needed to accelerate the BioPower sedan from zero to 100 km/h.

The high-performance Saab Trionic engine management system senses the mix of bioethanol and gasoline in the tank and adjusts engine timing accordingly. The only hardware modifications necessary are more durable valves and valve seats, and the use of bioethanol-compatible materials in the fuel system, including the tank, pump, lines and connectors.

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