`Tourist Train in Provence Partially Fueled by Olive-Pit Biofuel - Olive Oil Times

Tourist Train in Provence Partially Fueled by Olive-Pit Biofuel

Nov. 14, 2022
Paolo DeAndreis

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Olive pit-based bio­fuel is pow­er­ing a vin­tage steam train in south­ern France, car­ry­ing tourists through the nat­ural parks and the charm­ing hills and vil­lages of Provence, the heart of wine and olive oil pro­duc­tion in the coun­try.

For decades, the Train Des Pignes à Vapeur had left behind a trail of dark grey smoke from its coal-fired engines.

As the end of the 2022 tourism sea­son approached, the cul­tural asso­ci­a­tion that runs the train announced that its 44.5‑ton loco­mo­tive is now pow­ered by olive-derived bio­fuel.

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According to the study group for the Provence Railway Association (GECP), the cur­rent engine still requires some coal to func­tion prop­erly. Still, it mainly runs on olive pits shaped into large cylin­dri­cal logs.”

One ton of coal can be replaced by 700 kilo­grams of olive-derived fuel and 500 kilo­grams of coal. While the solu­tion does not only make run­ning the train cheaper, it is also more envi­ron­men­tally friendly.

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The GECP said they decided to make this change both to become more envi­ron­men­tally friendly and because coal was becom­ing increas­ingly dif­fi­cult to find.

Since ancient times, our mills in Provence have used olive pomace for indoor heat­ing,” Guy Mausy, an engi­neer at the GECP, told La Provence. Still, this fuel came in pow­der form, while we require larger pel­lets.”

The GECP said they got the idea from a local affil­i­ate in Tunisia, which used the olive pit logs” to oper­ate fur­naces.

A 2021 study in Spain has demon­strated the con­sid­er­able poten­tial of fuel derived from olive pits.

The researchers found that olive pit-based bio­fuel con­tains up to 4,500 calo­ries per gram and is any­where from 70 to 100 per­cent cheaper than gaso­line or diesel.

Furthermore, its emis­sions are also rel­a­tively low, with fewer impu­ri­ties than other types of bio­fuel since olive pits con­tain less mois­ture by the end of the milling process.



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