By now you probably already know that diesel has a bad reputation and is bound to go away from European roads eventually. While for car industry and drivers it is not really a big deal, long range truck manufacturers must find solutions. According to Volvo a good way out of diesel technology is liquefied natural gas or biogas powered trucks.
While the idea is not unique, Volvo managed to make its LNG powered Euro 6-compliant heavy duty trucks have the same performance as diesel, while producing 20–100 % lower CO2 emissions. Volvo FM LNG are already available for purchase and can be effectively used in heavy regional and long-haul operations. One of the reasons why Volvo’s LNG trucks are so efficient and environmentally friendly is the engine combustion cycle. The conventional Otto cycle engine, which is the usual solution for gas-powered vehicles, was replaced with Diesel cycle technology with great results in emissions and efficiency.
Volvo LNG trucks produce the same power and torque as diesel part of the family – 460 hp gas engine delivers maximum torque of 2300 Nm while the 420 hp version produces 2100 Nm. They do, however, consume the same amount of fuel as diesel trucks, but much less than other gas-powered alternatives. Depending on the gas used, truck can produce no CO2 at all. Biogas is essentially clean when it comes out of the exhaust pipe, even though carbon footprint still exists on the production side.
Range, of course, is very important for long-haul operations. Gas is kept at 4-10 bar pressure and the biggest Volvo tanks can hold enough of fuel for a 1000 km. Refilling tanks takes as much as in diesel alternatives. However, drivers will not be able to forget diesel completely. Because Volvo uses Diesel cycle technology, tiny amount of diesel must be added at the moment of injection.
If the company wants to reach zero CO2 emissions, conventional diesel fuel will have to be replaced with Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils. Lars Mårtensson, Director Environment and Innovation at Volvo Trucks, said: “Our focus on LNG vehicles is creating new prerequisites for our customers to run fuel- and cost-efficient operations. At the same time, we’re making it possible for heavy truck operations to considerably reduce their climate impact”.
Trucks are an important part of the equation in trying to reduce our carbon footprint. While your car may be extremely environmentally friendly, most of the stuff you have arrived on diesel trucks. The industry is looking for solutions. While electric trucks may not be the perfect alternative for now, LNG infrastructure is already quite common.
Source: Volvo Trucks