Volvo Trucks Go Green with Methane-Diesel Engines

It seems that Volvo Trucks will be the first to go green, as it plans to launch an efficient diesel engine which is fueled by a mixture of methane gas and diesel. Though the technology is new, the engines will meet Euro 5 emissions regulations.

The project is meant to combine the advantages of methane gas with the high efficiency of diesel engines. The idea of pursuing such a solution came after Volvo Trucks constructed seven drivable trucks powered by renewable fuels, out of which they only decided to focus on DME and methane gas + diesel.

"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," said environmental chief Lars Mårtensson.

In order for the engine to work, a small amount of diesel in injected into the engine and ignited by compression, which in turn will ignite the methane gas. This procedure saves the need for a spark plug.

No need to worry if the gas runs out, as the truck will continue running on diesel alone. Mats Franzén, Manager Engine Strategy and Planning, said: "We expect to be able to run on up to 80% methane gas once the technology has been refined and tested. Our field tests in 2010 will start with a mixture containing up to 70% methane gas. The remainder will consist of bio-mix diesel, i.e. fossil diesel mixed with diesel produced from renewable raw materials."

The engine testing will start next year in Sweden and UK.
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