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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 09:24 GMT
New biofuel pump at supermarket
Whissington sugar plant
The plant at Whissington will make fuel from sugar beet
A campaign to introduce car fuel made from plant crops has received a major boost in the region.

Britain's first filling station pump dispensing bioethanol has been unveiled at a Norwich supermarket.

Also on Wednesday, Swedish car maker Saab unveiled a vehicle in Norwich that has a modified engine so that it can use the new fuel.

Construction of a new bio-ethanol plant is underway at British Sugar's factory at Whissington in West Norfolk.

A spokesman for Saab said some working parts in the bioethanol fuelled car engine had been hardened and it had the benefit of producing much lower carbon dioxide emissions in exhaust gases.

Environmentally friendly

The only draw back was that fuel consumption was slightly higher than using normal petrol but engineers were working on this and a solution would be found.

Biofuels are made from crops such as wheat or sugar beet and the government is encouraging their use as it wants to cut carbon emissions.

The product launched in Norwich is a blend of 85% biofuel and 15% normal petrol. It costs 2p a litre less than normal petrol but fuel consumption is higher.

Conventional cars cannot run on the fuel and only Saab and Ford make suitable vehicles so far.

Saab said that 80% of its car sales in its home country run on the environmentally friendly fuel. It wants the British government to introduce incentives such as tax cuts and free parking to encourage people to make the switch.

British Sugar's plant plans to use excess beet grown in Norfolk, Cambs, Suffolk, Essex and Herts that was previously used as insurance against crop failures.

In the past the sugar made from this class of beet was sold on the international market.

Under new world trade rules this is no longer possible but it can go into the new bioethanol processing plant which is due to start production later this year.

Work starts on 20m biofuel plant
26 Jan 06 |  Norfolk
Go-ahead for 20m biofuels plant
29 Nov 05 |  Norfolk
Growing support for biofuel unit
23 Nov 05 |  Norfolk
20m biofuel beet factory planned
15 Dec 04 |  Norfolk

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