Ford is to launch a green-powered variant of its popular Focus model in Ireland. The Focus Flexi Fuel Vehicle (FFV) runs on a combination of petrol and ethanol, a by-product of many agricultural processes. The fuel is an alternative to the hybrid fuel cell model seen in vehicles such as the Toyota Prius.

Ford claims that the biofuel-petrol system produces 70% less carbon dioxide than conventional petrol engines. The ethanol is produced from whey, which is produced in the cheese making process, and such agricultural biofuel options could prove a viable proposition in Ireland.

Ford is campaigning to have the Irish government allow the Focus FFV a reduced tax rate, bringing it into line with other green cars such as the Prius. For the time being, the Irish government has reduced the duty on biofuels at the pump for two years.

However infrastructure restrictions are likely to limit the spread of the new Focus for thr time being, even if it does receive a reduced rate of registration tax. At present, the only biofuel-equipped forecourt in Ireland is at a Maxol station in southern Dublin, although biofuel-compatible forecourts are to be rolled out across the Dublin area as part of a trial program.