In the United Kingdom, the bus and rail operator Stagecoach is independently searching for ways to green their transport. The company is experimenting with its own biofuels trial in Scotland, where it’s using fuel from waste feedstocks to power its rails and buses. The company’s CEO, Brian Souter, expressed disappointment in manufacturers, saying that their efforts toward using new, greener technologies weren’t sufficient.
Souter told the Guardian:
The bus operators and transport groups can lean more heavily on manufacturers to be more imaginative and effective. We think that manufacturers should be spending more on research and development. Our indigenous manufacturers are doing more. We want to see some of the big boys, making some of the components, trying a bit here.
Souter, however, isn’t a fan of hybrid buses because, he says, the fuel economy isn’t worth the extra costs of the vehicles and maintenance. He also dismissed criticism of biofuels for threatening food supplies, particularly in the Third World. Stagecoach’s rival, National Express, canceled a biofuels trial for that reason.
We don’t agree with that. We were disappointed [with National Express]. There need to be clear parameters in developing countries where biofuels come from. And there needs to be an embargo on biofuel coming from rain forests.
We’re glad to see that Souter is exploring ways to lower emissions, but, given what we know about biofuels, we’re disappointed that he’s unwilling to invest in a more sustainable technology, like hybrids, fuel cells, or maybe even compressed air; technologies that will drive commuters for decades, vs. however long the corn crop lasts. If, however, the company is able to run a mass transit fleet off of waste products, that’s a green step in the right direction.
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