Stagecoach, the Perth-based bus operator, is to conduct the first UK trials of a bioethanol-fuelled bus outside of London. The move could see the group’s vehicles being powered by sugar beet in the future.

The company said a Scania OmniLink ethanol bus will be tested for two weeks from August 14th to establish its green technology potential for its 8,000 vehicle fleet. The pilot study will be taking place in Liverpool, Barnsley, Sheffield, Newcastle and Manchester.

Europe is way ahead of the UK with ethanol-based buses with Sweden, Spain, Italy and Poland already operating the more environmentally friendly service, which delivers significant reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (NO) and particulate matter.

Ethanol is produced from sources such as sugar beet and sugar cane. The production and supply of ethanol as a fuel has expanded rapidly in recent years and there is burgeoning interest in its use to develop more environmentally friendly public transport systems.