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State Government launches major bio-fuel trial


Premier Alan Carpenter has announced the start of a major State Government trial of bio-diesel fuel for Transperth buses as an alternative to petroleum diesel.

Mr Carpenter said the trial was being conducted through Transperth with the help of bus contractor Swan Transit.

The Premier made the announcement today at the celebration of the 500th bus built by manufacturing company Volgren, at their facility in Malaga.

"Over the next 12 months, 78 buses, or about seven per cent of Transperth's fleet, will run on bio-diesel," Mr Carpenter said.

"To begin with, the fleet will operate on B5 fuel, which is 95 per cent conventional diesel and five per cent bio-fuel."

Western Australian-based Gull Petroleum will supply the B5 blended fuel through Swan Transit depots at Kalamunda and Canning Vale.

"The aim of the trial is to examine any mechanical risks, bus reliability and the cost implications of using bio-fuel," the Premier said.

The trial started last week and it is expected the blend will be increased to B10 or B20 within six months.

Mr Carpenter said the trial would add to Transperth's solid 'green' credentials.

"Over the next 12 months, another 65 new compressed natural gas (CNG) buses from the Volgren factory will be added to the Transperth bus fleet at a cost of $31.2million," he said.

"This trial will see Transperth's current fleet comprise 20 per cent CNG, 73 per cent diesel, and seven per cent bio-diesel.

"Combining the CNG and bio-diesel initiatives insures that WA is seen as a leader in the field of transport energy diversity and self-sufficiency."

The Premier said Volgren currently employed more than 50 Western Australians and was the manufacturer of CNG Transperth buses for the Public Transport Authority, with the bulk of materials and all labour being sourced in WA.

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