Volkswagen of America this week announced partnerships with renewable fuels companies Solazyme and Amyris to test emissions reductions and the performance of advanced biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel.
Volkswagen will provide Solazyme and Amyris each with the 2012 Passat TDI and 2012 Jetta TDI (pictured) to examine the effects that the fuels produced by these companies will have on Volkswagen clean diesel technology and the environment.
Amyris converts plant sugars into renewable hydrocarbons for fuel and chemical applications while Solazyme has developed a technology that produces renewable oil from algae. The 12-month test period will provide Volkswagen engineers data that will help in the ongoing development of TDI Clean Diesel technology and help the brand to develop more efficient, cleaner burning diesel powertrains.
Initial analysis indicates that advanced biofuels are comparable to standard diesel blends in terms of performance, but also offer significant opportunities to reduce vehicle emissions.
"Amyris's renewable diesel's cold weather performance, high cetane and comparable energy density to petroleum diesel have enabled us to obtain one of the highest blending registrations certified by the U.S. EPA," said Mario Portela, COO, Amyris. Portela added that nearly 200 buses in Brazil are currently running on various blends of Amyris diesel.
Solazyme's 100-percent drop-in renewable diesel is compatible with existing infrastructure and vehicles, and provides the engine manufacturer with an advanced diesel replacement that drives significant reductions in greenhouse gas, said Rogerio Manso, chief commercialization officer, Solazyme.
Volkswagen’s clean diesel TDI models accounted for 21.6 percent of sales in 2011, a significant increase over recent years. Its February 2012 sales of clean diesel products were up more than 54 percent over the prior month. The automaker also recently announced that the 2013 Beetle TDI will become the sixth clean diesel model available in the brand's U.S. lineup.