Stockholm hosts ‘clean fuels’ conference

A European conference on environmentally-friendly vehicles and fuels opened in Stockholm on Tuesday, featuring a showcase of products already on the market and a series of seminars on climate change.

The three-day meeting, called “Clean Vehicles and Fuels”, will focus on global warming and efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, according to Hans Pohl, project leader for the event.

“Interest in clean cars and the new biofuels is now surging at the same pace as the price of oil,” Pohl said on the conference’s website.

The first day of the conference will focus on Sweden, whose “clean car initiative is on the cutting edge; the country has made much more progress in the field than the rest of Europe,” the site said.

According to the industrial automobile organisation Bil Sweden, the country of nine million people is expected to sell 12,000 clean cars this year compared to 7,000 in 2003, and as many as 20,000 in 2006.

In October, the world’s first train to run on biogas, a renewable energy source made up of organic waste, went into daily traffic in Sweden. The train links the city of Linköping, just south of Stockholm, to the east coast town of Västervik some 80 kilometres away.

The final two days of the conference will be dedicated to international issues, featuring seminars by experts and specialists in the fields of transport, energy, biofuels, and the environment.

“The purpose of the two-day seminar is to provide a broad overview of the clean vehicle and fuel situation,” said Arne Johansson, who is responsible for the conference’s program.

Biofuels are made of organic waste and can be divided into two groups: ethanol fuels, which are known as biogas and are made of wheat and beets and soon of corn as well; and biodiesels, made of rape and sunflower oils.