HL Deb 02 July 1979 vol 401 cc217-8WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What research they have conducted or sponsored on the production of alcohol from vegetable matter, for use as an additive in motor vehicle fuels, and what research they have conducted or sponsored on the production of motor vehicle engines optimised for alcohol-petrol mixtures.

The Earl of GOWRIE

Research is being actively carried out into the availability of a variety of materials from biological sources and into the methods which could be used to convert them into fuels for conventional purposes. Processes have been available for many years for the conversion of vegetable matter into gaseous or liquid fuels, including alcohols, but I am advised that in this country the costs of producing or collecting together large quantities of raw material and of processing it are expected to be high. Detailed studies are, however, continuing in order to define possible options for the future. It is already well established that motor vehicle engines can be operated on petrol containing a proportion of alcohol and such fuels are in use in some countries where it is advantageous to convert agricultural products to alcohol. The Government are not at present carrying out or sponsoring any research on engines for these fuels.

House adjourned at six minutes before ten o'clock.