The 2 Talybont Project Cars
The project has two cars. The first runs on 100% biodiesel and is called “Mr Chips”
Model: Octavia Elegance
Engine type: 1.9 litre turbo-diesel
Year of Manufacture: 2003
CO2: 140 g/km
Fuel Economy: 54 mpg combined on regular diesel
Top Speed: 119 mph
Engine Power: 84kW (110 bhp)
Tank capacity: 55 litres
Range on bio-diesel: About 600 miles we think
Mr Chips is one of the last models that Volkswagen/Skoda publicly certifies for 100% bio-diesel. Most diesel engines can run on a mixture of normal and bio-diesel but very few will run on pure bio-diesel. Mr Chips will, and so his direct fossil CO2 emissions are effectively negligible, and the fossil fuel used in the production of the bio-diesel is both very low and already expended in the production of the original food substance.
The bio-diesel is produced from waste vegetable oil by Sundance Renewables, using a complex chemical process. It meets the current EU bio-diesel standard (EN14214). Bio-diesel can also be produced from fresh vegetable oil such as rapeseed oil, but there is understandable concern about diverting agricultural cropland to car fuel production. By using waste oil and a “mature” car, we will minimise the carbon footprint of any travel in Mr Chips.
Bio-diesel should not be confused with Pure or Straight Vegetable Oil used for cooking or consumption but also able to fuel some diesel engines. Cars generally need to be converted to run on 100% pure vegetable oil, because it does not atomise well at low temperatures and needs to be pre-heated before injection. Paradoxically, the fossil fuel consumed in the production of pure vegetable oil means that technically waste vegetable derived bio-diesel has a lower fossil carbon footprint than pure vegetable oil.
The 2nd car is all electric purchased, with the help of the Brecon Beacons Sustainable Development Fund,, from John Lily of Dragon Electric Vehicles of Cwmdu. We call this car “Bluebell”.
Model: Mega City
Engine type: 4kW electric
Year of Manufacture: 2009
CO2 emissions: 0
Fuel Economy About 3 miles per charger kWh around here
Range: 30 to 40 miles in this area
Top Speed: 38 mph
Engine Power: 4kW (5 ¼ bhp)
Battery Capacity: 9 to 10kWh
Charge time: 8 to 10 hours when fully discharged (say 4mph!)
Charger power: 1600 watts
Bluebell is a “light quadracycle” – a vehicle limited to 30mph, 350kg weight, and a 4kW motor. To make her light and efficient, she is made of a strong plastic material. Bluebell has her own private charge point on the wall of Henderson Hall, and will be used for local journeys to Brecon and Crickhowell. She can go further only if she can re-charge at her destination.
Bluebell has zero emissions when powered by the Talybont Energy turbine. 20 minutes of turbine output would fully charge the car, but she takes longer. With an 8 hour charge time, the turbine can charge about 20 Bluebells at a time.
Electric cars with ranges over 100 miles and speeds of 80 mph will soon be available. They will have 10 times Bluebell’s power and battery capacity, but will be difficult to charge overnight using standard 13 amp circuits. They will cost quite a bit more than Bluebell to run, but will be more like normal cars to drive.
However, if driven like normal cars at normal car speeds, electric cars don’t offer huge fossil carbon reduction with today’s electricity generation mix. We will need to drive more conservatively, and get more of our power from renewable resources, to save much fossil fuel with electric cars. In the mean time, cars like Bluebell, powered by the Talybont Turbine, can meet some of our needs sustainably.