Bentley’s Crewe production site houses a seemingly ordinary 1200-litre fuel bowser, but its contents hold the key to reducing CO2 emissions significantly.
By adopting the second-generation biofuel, Bentley’s Heritage Collection vehicles and press fleet have managed to cut their carbon footprint by an impressive 85 per cent compared to regular gasoline.
Driving to Success at Goodwood
During the Goodwood event, Bentley’s six-strong fleet utilized the second-gen biofuel and successfully completed all 32 hill climbs. Among them, the 750PS, W12-engined Batur, powered by renewable biofuel, achieved an exceptional 55.0-second run, securing its position among the top three production cars of the weekend.
Additionally, the Bentayga EWB, Bentley’s newest flagship, accomplished the hill climb in just 1 minute 21 seconds while towing a remarkable 2.5 tonnes of straw. This feat is made even more astounding when considering that the straw when converted to biofuel, could power the Bentayga for 1100 miles or provide fuel for all Bentleys during the Goodwood weekend.
The Advancement of Second-Generation Biofuel
The newly implemented second-generation biofuel at Crewe adheres to the global EN228 standard for gasoline, ensuring a seamless replacement for conventional pump fuel. Astonishingly, even the oldest surviving Bentley, the 1920 EXP2, requires no engine modifications to run efficiently on this eco-friendly fuel.
The biofuel empowers every Bentley ever built to perform with the same vigour and smoothness as on regular gasoline while substantially reducing its carbon footprint. In contrast to first-generation biofuels, which rely on food crops grown on arable land, second-generation biofuels embrace waste products like agricultural and forestry waste, as well as food industry by-products.
Through the fermentation of waste biomass, ethanol is created, which is then converted to ethylene by dehydration. Subsequently, the ethylene undergoes oligomerisation, a process that chains short hydrocarbon molecules together to produce longer, more energy-dense ones. The outcome is a 100 per cent renewable fuel, delivering an estimated 85 per cent reduction in CO2 impact when compared to conventional gasoline. Moreover, the utilization of waste materials avoids the ethical dilemma of “food versus fuel” commonly associated with first-generation biofuels.
Commitment to Sustainability – Beyond100
Bentley’s Beyond100 strategy entails a transition to exclusively plug-in hybrid or battery-electric vehicles by 2026, with full electric vehicles being the only option by 2030. These milestones mark Bentley’s journey towards becoming a fully carbon-neutral organization as it embarks on its second century.
However, Bentley remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting all current and past models, with approximately 84 per cent of all Bentleys ever built still operating today, exemplifying longevity and sustainability. For these vehicles, second-generation biofuel provides a viable path to a more environmentally friendly future.
Preserving History with the Heritage Collection at Crewe
Each vehicle within Bentley’s Heritage Collection finds its home at the Crewe site, forming an unbroken chain of Bentley production models spanning 104 years. This impressive collection includes key models from the Cricklewood era (1919-31), the Derby era (1931-39), and Crewe production (1946-on), all meticulously maintained in perfect working condition and road-legal state. Now, these historic automobiles play a crucial role in Bentley’s Beyond100 journey by embracing second-generation biofuel.
The introduction of a 1200-litre biofuel bowser at Crewe, catering to the Heritage Collection and press fleet, marks another significant step in reducing the site’s environmental impact. In 2018, Crewe became the first luxury automotive factory in the UK to earn carbon-neutral certification from the Carbon Trust, a distinction that has since been renewed twice.
Over the past two decades, numerous innovations have contributed to this achievement, including a water recycling system in the paint shop, local tree planting, the installation of 30,000 on-site solar panels, and a switch to renewable-only electricity sources. By November, the renewable electricity capacity is projected to increase by an additional 20 per cent.
Ongoing targets aim to further reduce the factory’s energy consumption, CO2 emissions, wastewater, and the use of solvents in the painting process. Bentley is committed to achieving plastic-neutral status and aspires to transform Crewe into a ‘climate-positive factory’ by 2030, actively reducing carbon levels in the atmosphere.
Bentley’s adoption of second-generation biofuel at its Crewe production site exemplifies its commitment to sustainability and reducing its carbon footprint. By embracing renewable and eco-friendly alternatives, Bentley’s vehicles, both current and historic, contribute to a greener future, supporting the company’s Beyond100 strategy towards carbon neutrality. With such initiatives, Bentley continues to set a remarkable example for the automotive industry, proving that luxury and environmental responsibility can go hand in hand.