Volvo Trucks is intensifying its development of gas-powered trucks for heavy regional and long-haul operations, as it believes that liquefied natural gas (LNG) or biogas can be a competitive vehicle fuel with considerable environmental benefits.
Replacing diesel with LNG or biogas could drastically reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from heavy trucks, Volvo add. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, but it can produce 20% lower CO2 emissions than diesel. If biogas is used the climate impact can be cut by up to 100%.
Reducing CO2 emissions is an ongoing challenge – in May, the EU produced a regulation requiring CO2 figures from heavy vehicles to be declared from 2019, with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions.
“Many of our customers and their customers already work hard to reduce their environmental footprint. This regulation will drive the development of lower emissions, where we see a clear possibility for increasing LNG market shares as a vital part of the solution,” said Lars Mårtensson, director of Environment and Innovation at Volvo Trucks.
“Our vision is that trucks from Volvo will eventually have zero emissions, although the way of achieving that is not by one single solution but rather through several solutions in parallel.”
By using methane in liquid form, it is possible to carry larger quantities of fuel and thus ensure the necessary operating range for long-haul assignments. Natural gas and biogas consist largely of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas. This makes it particularly important to minimise the risk of gas leakage during transport, refuelling and operation of the vehicle.
While biogas is thus far only produced in limited quantities, the long-term availability of natural gas is excellent in a global perspective. This is an important condition for large-scale expansion, as is a competitive price. In many European countries, natural gas costs less than diesel. A strategy for expanding LNG infrastructure is also included in the European Commission’s and member states’ action packages for securing Europe’s long-term energy supply.
“All told, this makes liquefied gas the best widely available climate alternative on the market for long and heavy transports. What is needed now is gas-powered trucks that can compete with diesel in terms of performance and fuel consumption, and continued expansion of LNG infrastructure. In both cases major progress has been achieved,” added Mårtensson.
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