Volkswagen recently announced a partnership with both Solazyme and Amyris, two world leaders in the production of renewable fuels. Through this partnership, Volkswagen plans to evaluate emissions reductions and also demonstrate the performance of TDI® Clean Diesel technology (“TDI” stands for “Turbo Direct Injection”) when powered by renewable diesel and advanced biodiesel fuel.
The partnership will include a 12-month evaluation in which both Solazyme and Amyris will each be provided with a new 2012 Passat TDI and 2012 Jetta TDI to closely monitor the effects that the companies’ fuels have on both the environment and on VW Clean Diesel technology. During this evaluation, Volkswagen will be measuring the environmental impacts from using cleaner burning, renewable diesel formulas.
Amyris, an integrated renewable products company that provides sustainable alternatives to petroleum-sourced products, converts plant-sourced sugars into renewable hydrocarbons for fuel and chemical applications. Solazyme is a renewable oil and bioproducts company headquartered in San Francisco; it has developed a technology that harnesses the oil-producing capabilities of microalgae to create renewable oil products.
“Partnering with two leaders in advanced biofuel technology supports Volkswagen’s goal of offering a competitive suite of technologies that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve fuel efficiency and fit the diverse needs of our customers,” stated Prof. Dr. Jürgen Leohold, head of Volkswagen Group Research. “In order to achieve our long-term desire of bringing [carbon dioxide]-neutral mobility to the market, advanced gasoline and diesel engines—like TDI Clean Diesel technology—must play a major role; and renewable energies to power these advanced powertrains are needed on a large scale.”
This partnership follows a truly impressive year for Volkswagen TDI products in the United States; TDI Clean Diesel models made up 21.6 percent of sales in 2011, a remarkable increase over previous years. In addition to the significant sales success of TDI-equipped vehicles, VW also recently announced that the 2013 Beetle TDI would become the sixth clean diesel model available to customers in the brand’s U.S. lineup.
“Think Blue is not just a tagline, but a state of mind at Volkswagen and is the driving force behind our goal of bringing sustainable products, technologies and solutions to the market while reducing our collective environmental impact,” said Tim Mahoney, chief product and marketing officer for Volkswagen of America. “Strategic partnerships with leading-edge companies like Solazyme and Amyris reinforce our ongoing commitment to producing a fleet of eco-conscious vehicles and will ensure VW’s leadership position in the clean diesel space into the future.”
Volkswagen has continually succeeded in leading the automotive industry with its innovative products, and this effort to advance the TDI Clean Diesel technology proves that they’re still moving forward at high speed.