Norwegian public transport company Oslo Sporveier has chosen Scania to supply 18 biofuel-powered city buses due in service in Norway's capital starting next March.

Oslo Sporveier's decision to introduce ethanol buses on a large scale is based on good experience in the Swedish capital of Stockholm during more than 15 years of operating Scania ethanol buses.

According to the company's calculations, its 18 new buses will reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Oslo by 600 tonnes per year.

"Ethanol is the best renewable fuel available today. Even today, it can contribute to a sustainable public transport system," said Hans Hansson, head of Scania buses and coaches.

By "sustainable", Scania means both from an environmental and economic perspective.

"Ethanol is by far the most cost-effective renewable fuel in the market today, taking into account factors like availability, infrastructure and access to proven technology. New technologies such as hybrids are around the corner and fuel cells could become viable in 10 years' time, but there is no reason to wait," Hansson added.

Internationally, interest in ethanol-powered engines is now increasing. As the only manufacturer of ethanol buses, Scania has begun to supply such buses for testing by public transport systems in Britain, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Spain and China.

The net effect of ethanol depends on how the fuel is produced. Ethanol made from sugar cane can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 90% compared to a similar engine operating on fossil fuel.

Carbon dioxide from renewable fuels is part of a natural eco-cycle and does not increase atmospheric CO2 levels. There is heavy demand for ethanol as a vehicle fuel, and production is increasing rapidly around the world.

Ethanol is handled in the same way as other liquid vehicle fuels, which means that existing distribution infrastructure can be used.