Sunday, May 3, 2009

Booze to Biofuel

Law enforcement in Sweden is now using its confiscated alcohol to fuel cars. Sweden has a problem with their citizens smuggling alcoholic beverages into the country to avoid paying high taxes locally [1]. Police catch the smugglers at the border, and they pour 200,000 gallons of confiscated alcohol down the drain each year [2]. Sweden now wants to put this waste to better use by turning it into biofuel.

The confiscated drinks are first mixed together with water, then sent off to a plant to produce biofuel. Sometimes the alcohols are mixed with animal and human waste. In this case, the mixture is allowed to break down its components for about a month, and the gases given off are captured for biogas [1].

Biogas is promoted in Sweden because it is carbon neutral, making it better for the environment, and it creates jobs, making it good for the economy. Biogas is also cheaper for Sweden’s citizens. A citizen using biogas in his or her car will save about 5 kronor per 10 kilometers, or about 10 cents per mile [1].

In an effort to become the first oil-free country, Sweden is offering incentives to those using green transportation. Toll road users in Stockholm don’t have to pay the tolls if they drive a car powered by biofuels or any other type of renewable energy, and some cities even offer these citizens free parking. Citizens driving clean energy company cars also get a tax cut on car taxes. With these incentives, Sweden expects 20% of cars sold this year to be green [1].


1 comment:

rossen said...

This is a great article.
Do you think we can implement this in the US?
Do you think the U.S. will ever follow the same initiative as Sweden to be a carbon-neutral country?

I personally don't think that we can offer "green" drivers the same perks that the Swedes are enjoying because of our way of thinking. Maybe if we changed the way we look at energy we would be much better off as a society.