Precer's Bioracer: Off-Road Vehicle Runs on Wood Pellets
The "Bioracer, " created by the Precer Group, is the latest in alternative energy vehicles. Precer, a Swedish company that commonly develops biomass powerplants, has broaden their product scope to include this sporty version of an ATV, which by the way, runs on wood pellets.
The vehicle's 16 horsepower electric motor is powered by a 24 to 96 volt, 100 to 400 amp-hour battery pack, (options which can be decided upon by the consumer). The Bioracer is a 900-pound vehicle with off-road capabilities that includes a dual A-arm suspension in the front and a swing arm suspension in the rear giving it the appearance of an ATV or sand rail. Available in 2 or 4 wheel-drive, the car can drive for 3 hours on battery-power alone.
Fueled by a Stirling engine that runs on 3 to 6 pounds of wood pellets, the Bioracer has enough energy for 10 miles of driving, which varies according to the customizable battery options. The wood pellets act as a heat source for the Stirling engine generator, which drives an electric motor to power the vehicle. The vehicle extends Precer's goals to "provide economic and environmental competitive advantages and use renewable energy from the planet kingdom." The Swedish company has put their biofuel solutions to work for cars, boats, machinery, as well as homes. Currently, Precer Group is experimenting with development of a replacement for the current Stirling engine that would use steam turbines instead.
By using wood pellets for fuel, consumers are able to reduce their funds allocated on foreign fuels that require refining and shipping. And perhaps most obviously, the vehicle reduces air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions. Biofuels, such as the wood pellets used in the Bioracer as well as those derived from plants and crops, are not entirely new concepts. With the most common being biodiesel, biofuels offer alternatives to environmentally conscious drivers and machine operators who wish to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Biofuels include any solid, liquid, or gas fuel derived from "biomass" (plant materials or animal wastes), presenting both advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of biofuels include the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as compared to traditional fuels. However, biofuels are not entirely carbon neutral. The production of the crops or plants used in biofuels requires energy to power machinery and transportation. Nonetheless, environmentalists agree that biofuels are more environmentally friendly than their traditionally used alternatives and also reduce the need for foreign oil.
Yet, disadvantages of biofuels exist as well. Environmentalists fear that the production and harvesting of crops for biofuels will eliminate land normally designated to wild plants and natural habitats for animals. Another concern is that farmers will turn to growing crops for biofuel rather than produce, reducing the production of food, thus raising its price.
Nevertheless, the Bioracer is a unique alternative to carbon dioxide producing, off-road vehicles currently used by many enthusiasts. The hope is that the disadvantages of biofuels, and the production thereof, will be worked out as more consumers opt for such vehicles and machines.
Sources: Biomass Authority and The Green Car Website