Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Volvo To Field Combination Fuel Freight Trucks

New Development offers Cheaper and Cleaner Haulage
Shipping News Feature

SWEDEN - Volvo Trucks have announced they are to begin field testing next year of a truck that will run on a new dual fuel system which combines both diesel and methane gas. Volvo will be the first manufacturer to field such an engine, which promises great potential savings in emissions and fuels costs.

The key to the new technology is Volvo’s breakthrough in using both fuel types in combination with a modified diesel engine. Volvo states that the problem with the use of methane gas for long-haul transportation was a distinct lack of stamina. A truck with a spark ignited gas engine usually has a restricted range of operation of between 150 and 200 kilometres.

By using a diesel compression engine the company’s research indicates that range can be increased by a further 50 percent and with the use of liquid natural gas range is doubled.

“This unique technology allows us to combine the advantages of gas with the diesel engine’s high efficiency rating, which is about 30-40 percent superior to that of the spark plug engine,” comments Lars Mårtensson, Environmental Director Volvo Trucks.

“As a result, this truck consumes considerably less energy than traditional gas trucks do.”

"Methane gas is by far the most accessible fuel as an alternative to diesel. There are larger reserves of natural gas than oil. But above all, production of climate-neutral biogas is gaining momentum in many countries, which solves the most urgent problem - reducing CO2 emissions.”

By using a tiny amount of diesel as the ignition source Volvo believes they have a solution to increasingly tough emission standards that are increasingly coming in around the globe whilst maintaining their reputation as the new trucks will have exactly the same drive characteristics as existing vehicles.

In addition, the engines will be capable of running on just diesel, therefore negating the problem of the unavailability of gas supplies, especially as infrastructure adapts to new fuel demands.

Volvo state that: “Calculated over the whole fuel chain, from production to use on roads, the new technology could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 80 percent in the long term compared to traditional diesel operation, if biogas and 100 percent biodiesel are used.”

With gas currently much cheaper than petrochemical fuels, the news that they may soon have a new option that is greener and cheaper for them will be welcome news to hauliers everywhere.