Just what would the Fat Controller make of this? Virgin has waved off one of its Voyager trains on its maiden journey with a load of 20% biodiesel aboard. The environmental benefits of converting their whole fleet to this fuel, are according to Sir Richard Branson, a reduction in CO2 emissions by 14%. Or 34,500 less tonnes of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere (equivalent to taking 23,000 cars off the road annually). The Voyager will chug about on a six month national trial before the rest of the fleet changes over. And there are plans to get them running on 100% biodiesel. The Beeb report this is made from rapeseed, soyabean and palm oil, but it is not entirely clearly if they mean Virgin’s specific blend, or biodiesel in general. In Virgin’s own press release they note that the UK Treasury has extended them a concession on the duty price of biodiesel for this trial. Normally it's an astounding 54.68p per litre, when only 7.69p per litre on usual petroleum-based railway diesel! They also observe that they’ll be trialling biofuel for their air fleet in 2008. ::Virgin Trains Green Policy, via BBC.
See also Biogas for Swedish Trains.