Biodiesel and bioethanol help to control global warming by cutting the emissions of CO2 from cars. Biofuels limit pollutant emissions since they contain no lead and only a small amount of sulphur. They have a high oxygen content so mixing them with conventional fuels improves combustion and thus reduces emissions of particulates, carbon monoxide and other pollutants.
Biodiesel is a blend of diesel fuel and vegetable oil produced from plants such as oilseed rape, sunflower, soy or palm oil. This oil is chemically transformed into VOME (Vegetable Oil Methyl Ester), which is then mixed with diesel fuel. European regulations allow 5% VOME in diesel fuel. Using B30 biodiesel cuts CO2 emissions by 18% and particulate emissions by 22%.
Bioethanol is a blend of petrol and ethanol, an alcohol produced by the fermentation of sugar (beet or sugar cane) or starch produced from cereals (wheat, corn, etc.). Citroën has developed petrol engines able to use fuel containing up to 10% ethanol (E10 fuel). The use of E10 fuel cuts CO2 ‘well-to-wheel’ emissions by around 6%.
In some markets, such as Brazil and Sweden, we also sell vehicles using ‘FlexFuel’ technology, which can run on fuel containing up to 85% ethanol.
Citroën is aware of the issues relating to food farming and energy farming. It is closely watching studies on second-generation biofuels, for example use of the whole plant and the use of biomass and seaweed, which are still at the research stage. We aim to ensure the compatibility of our engines with these fuels as soon as they reach the industrial production stage, by around 2020-2030.