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Contiki Coaches in Europe Now Powered by Biofuel!

Contiki Coaches in Europe Now Powered by Biofuel!

Contiki Coaches in Europe Now Powered by Biofuel!
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Contiki, a travel company for young adults, has taken a big step forward in sustainability by switching their European coaches to biofuel in January 2024.

What is Biofuel?

Biofuel is a renewable fuel source derived from organic materials like plant or food waste. Contiki specifically uses hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), a type of biofuel made entirely from existing waste products. This ensures no additional crops are grown specifically for fuel, avoiding deforestation concerns.

Benefits of Biofuel

The primary advantage of HVO is the significant reduction in CO2 emissions, a major contributor to climate change. According to Contiki’s Global Sustainability Officer, Tasha Hayes, HVO produces up to 90% less carbon compared to traditional diesel fuel.

“HVO is a kind of diesel, but it’s not a fossil-based diesel, it’s made from waste. It can be made with food waste and plant waste. This can sound like it would contribute to more harm, like deforestation, but that’s not the case: the HVO that we use is purely made using existing food and plant waste, so nothing is purposely grown to be used as waste.”

Implementation and Challenges

“It had no impact on the coaches, so it wasn’t difficult there, but what we are doing is figuring out some details on the road,” says Gerco. “Our routes on trip are pretty set, and a lot of them are dictated by re-fueling stops and price, but not all of our currently used stops offer HVO. What we’re trying to figure out is alternate routes that won’t disrupt the trip and driving length too much, while also allowing our drivers to refuel with HVO as much as possible.”

“Currently 38% of our routes allow for HVO and the aim this year is to get to 50%. Luckily, more countries are coming around to it. For example, when we first put this proposal together Italy was tricky because they had no HVO, but since we’ve started this initiative, HVO has become available in Italy. It’s an evolving process.”

Contiki’s switch to biofuel is still ongoing. As of now, it’s primarily used on coaches provided by Atlas Reizen, their main supplier, in most European tours. Remote or regional trips with non-Contiki coaches are exceptions due to limited control over fuel options.

The biggest challenge lies in route planning. Contiki’s existing routes are often dictated by refueling stops and fuel prices. Since not all stops offer HVO yet, the company is working on finding alternate routes that minimize disruptions while maximizing HVO availability. Gerco Don, Managing Director of Atlas Reizen, acknowledges this as an evolving process, but highlights the increasing adoption of HVO across Europe. For instance, Italy, which initially lacked HVO, now offers it thanks to Contiki’s initiative.

Related Article: Formula 1® Aims for Net Zero by 2030 with DHL’s Enhanced Biofuel Fleet

The Future of Biofuel

While electric coaches exist, their range limitations make them unsuitable for Contiki’s long travel distances. HVO serves as a significant interim solution for reducing emissions. Tasha emphasizes that the goal is continuous emission reduction. Biofuel is a major step in achieving this goal for Contiki’s European operations.

Additionally, the article mentions Contiki’s commitment to Net Zero and the difference between Net Zero and carbon neutrality.

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