Volvo Receives First Order for Methane Diesel Buses

Volvo announced today it has received its first order for buses that operate on both biogas and diesel. Biogas is a renewable fuel that contributes to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. However, current gas-operated buses have some disadvantages, such as requiring careful maintenance, and are not as energy-efficient as diesel-engine technology.

“A diesel engine is 30-40% more efficient than current gas-operated engines,” stated Edward Jobson, Environment Director at Volvo Buses. “In a time when we must reduce society’s total energy consumption, higher utilization of the diesel-engine technology is an important development.”

Consequently, the company is participating in a demonstration project for methane/diesel technology using buses for regional traffic and trucks. Current diesel engines will be used, but up to 70% of the fuel is biogas or natural gas.

A common diesel bus will be used, on which gas tanks will be mounted on the roof and equipment that injects the gas into the engine to create an optimal mixture of air and fuel. The gas will be stored in the tanks in a gaseous state, as with current gas-operated buses and refilled in exactly the same manner from the same filling stations.

Volvo Buses has now received its first order for 11 buses, with methane/diesel technology, from Vargardabuss in Sweden, for putting in service in July 2011. It involves the Volvo 8500 intercity bus model.

“For some time, we have been able to offer our Volvo 7700 low-floor bus with gas-operated engines,”
said Martin Spjern, Head of Volvo Buses’ Sweden operations. “Now, we will also be able to offer a low-entrance bus for regional traffic, which can operate mainly on gas. Our customers will have access to a bus that combines the efficiency and reliability of the diesel engine with the environmental advantages achieved with gas operations.”
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