The beauty of nature, Saab style


The Saab 9-3SC 1,8t Biopower Biogas by ANA Specialbilar

Some days ago I issued a teaser of an article coming up later in the week regarding the Saab 9-3 Trifuel. Well sorry I could not stick to that promise, but now here is the “more”. And to my defence… It´s still withIn a week 🙂

Oooh, I love talking product!

More after the jump…

For the techies and the ones that ought to buy this vehicle

Sorry, but we will get deeper in to the tech side of things later with video etc regarding this vehicle, but for now you will have to “make do” with my assessment of the car as a daily drive and why I heartily recommend it to Cab companies in Sweden and as a fleet vehicle for municipality and state. It is Swedish, it is a Saab and it is Environmentaly friendly. Besides being one of the most comfortable mid size vehicles on sale in Sweden, the 9-3SC Biopower Biogas has range and is able, besides petrol, to use two sustainable fuels- Ethanol and Biogas. A combination only to be found in the 9-3SC Biopower Biogas. And running on Biogas is way cheaper than Petrol, Diesel or even Ethanol. Yes, the added cost of the adaptation is there, but is soon written off. I so wish this car would be sold abroad.

The car and cargo

As a daily drive this car is no different from any other Saab 9-3 with a 175hp T8 engine. It is a car with an engine quick in throttle response, an active nimble chassis, comfy seating, the typical Saab cockpit environment and good enough room in the cabin to house a family of 2 adults, 2 or 3 small children or 2 older children or 2 additional adults. It is a seriously good car as many of you know. The picture shows 2 of my 4 children. Sean soon to be 10 and Jo-Linn soon to be 7. The driverseat is adjusted to my 36 inseam.

My wife also would like to include that the 9-3 is one of few vehicles where she feels comfortable with the seatbelt and how it rests on the shoulder and not the neck.. She is of wee lenght and it Is a problem for many.. But not in a 9-3.

This 9-3 adds something, but at the same time has to subtract another thing. What it adds is an even cleaner way of getting from A-B with a typical Saab grin and what it subtracts is a bit of roominess in the trunk.
The tanks for Biogas has to go somewhere and that is below the storage area in the rear. And since quite an amount of biogas is needed to reach the up to 300km’s of running time on Biogas, the tanks have to be of size. Therefore the floor is raised approx 10 cm to be able to store the tanks. Does it matter? Well, yes it does. Does it make the area totally unusable? No it does not. In the pictures of the trunk I have loaded my folded wheelchair and I would still be able to put a weeks worth of groceries in there. If I had been a wee bit shorter, my wheelchair had been of the lower kind and it would not have been necessary to take the wheels of to load it.

So how is the drive on Biogas?

As I wrote, the performance on Biogas is no different from running on Ethanol. Or at least that is my assessment.
Biogas is getting to be quite popular in Sweden. There are even Touring-car racecars competing in the STCC (Scandinavian Touring Car Campionship) running on Biogas. High quality Biogas is just that good, and coupled with a Saab engine and Trionic engine management, a Saab 9-3 Biopower goes from fun and environmentally sound to fun and the flora and fauna’s new best friend (Personal view 🙂 )
The added weight from the tanks does in no way compromise the driving experience. The chassis can handle it with no rolling or anything. It´s just as tight as a 9-3 ought to be. Hats off to Saab and ANA Specialbilar!


I know there have been discussions regarding Bio fuels and especially in the case of Biogas in the previous post. What we have to remember is that Natural gas is Methane just as Biogas is Methane. Difference is that Natural gas is Fossil while Biogas is…
Nah, I´ll let this following text from the Power Company E.ON explain the fuel, process and Why Biogas is so sustainable.

Biogas is a renewable gas produced by decomposing organic material. Like natural gas, biogas consists mainly of methane. Biogas is produced when organic materials such as plants, fertilizer, organic household waste, wastewater from food industries and sewage sludge is broken down by bacteria in an oxygen free environment.

The production of renewable biogas is particularly valuable when the operation means that we take care of our own waste while creating environmentally friendly energy.


Currently the most common process, works through microbial decomposition of organic material in an oxygen-free environment. The anaerobic decomposition takes place partly in digesters at wastewater treatment plants and biogas plants, both in the interior of the landfill. The organic matter is such as sewage sludge, household and industrial waste and various agricultural products such as energy crops and manure.
Residues from anaerobic digestion facilities is called bio-fertilizer and can be used as an organic fertilizer.

Depending on the commodity composition and on the digestion process operated, biogas can have different compositions. Like natural gas, biogas consists mainly of methane, but also to some extent by carbon dioxide and a small amount of other substances. For that biogas could be used as a vehicle needs to be purified from carbon dioxide. The purification takes place in an upgrade installation where concentration of methane gas is increased while the energy value increases.

Thermal gasification

The second production is thermal gasification of wood fuels and carbonaceous waste products. The thermal gasification of wood fuel is made by controlled heating fuels. Water can be heated under pressure or without pressure elevation. The warming release various gases which in the next step is converted to methane gas.

Biogas. The cleanest fuel that is easy to produce.

Many different types of “green” technologies and fuels will have to be used to faze out fossil fuels. One of them is Biogas. The major advantage of biogas, besides being almost entirely carbon neutral and not releasing any other hazardous substances, is that it exists here and now. And really… It works! Just look at the Saab 9-3SC Biopower Biogas from ANA Specialbilar!

The Saab 9-3 Biopower Biogas, pointing out one path to engaging driving with nature in mind.


Cheers for now. Please stay tuned for more on this amazing vehicle and the tech underneath.

Thanks again to ANA Trollhättan for the kind gesture in letting test your vehicle.


All pictures property of 2011

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w3c validator

I’m trying to get my boss to get some of these when we have to replace our older cars…


I´m under the impression you enjoy the testing Tompa 🙂
Nice piece, looking forward to read the rest…..
Congrats by the way to your purchase…..

Niklas G

>Oooh, I love talking product!
…and many of us love reading about it. After all, that’s what Saab is all about, hurrrah! =)


Nice, maybe it is time for a new category: Test drives


Great article Tompa. It’s always fascinating to read about the brilliant technical and efficiency advancements Saab is making over there despite the fact that we’ll never see such a thing here in Canada. We’re still waiting on a diesel powerplant!


Great article!

One small thing. STCC is now Scandinavian Touring Car Championship.


Sounds like you enjoyed it a lot… Interesting read!

Red J

Many different types of “green” technologies and fuels will have to be used to faze out fossil fuels.

Yep !!!

Sometimes when we discus about Ethanol or any other non-fossil fuels, people argue that this or that non fossil fuel can’t be produced in large enough amount to substitute petrol.

The future will show that every different country will have different solutions, and car makers won’t be able to concentrate on one fuel type but will have to build cars like this that can run on many types of fuel.


cars like this that can run on many types of fuel

What do you think, will there be in a future upgrade kits (for reasonable price) for recent cars ? There are LPG kits and bioethanol maps but no hybrid/electricity or biogas …

Not that I’d like immediately to switch my V6 to something else but when things are going tougher, a hybrid upgrade could come in question …

Red J

After-market Bio-Gas kits do exist.


Thanks very much! This was an interesting read, and I’m glad you’re having some fun too!


Happy Saabing!


Great article, Tompa!


Great pictures and summary by you Tompa – have not found anything about this trifuel SAAB 9 3 in the regular automotive press – so your write-up is my main source of information! Trust that the usal SAAB warranties are still valid – how about service intervalls for this enginge configuration? Met my local SAAB dealer this Sunday and he told me that the new Biopower engine range (as from MY 2012) now have 30000km service intervalls also for ethanol powered engines. The former engine configuration had 15000km intervalls. This is more cost and driver friendly indeed. More worrysome for… Read more »

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