|The Volvo Multi-Fuel. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo will preview a prototype five-fuel Multi-Fuel vehicle at the Michelin Challenge Bibendum 2006, which takes place in Paris, June 8-12. The company is also previewing a new generation Collision Warning System.
The Volvo Multi-Fuel is a new prototype optimized for running on five fuels: bioethanol E85; methane in the form of either natural gas or bio-methane; gasoline; and a 10% Hythane blend (10% hydrogen, 90% natural gas).
|The Volvo Multi-Fuel|
Hythane refers to hydrogen-CNG mixtures of 20% or less hydrogen by volume; blends of 21% hydrogen by volume or more are called HCNG. Tests with Hythane have shown reductions in NOx emissions compared to pure CNG without affecting vehicle fuel consumption or power. (Earlier post.)
The Multi-Fuel meets virtually all known emission standards in the world, including the proposed Euro 5, according to Volvo. Running on fuels such as hydrogen, biomethane and bioethanol means negligible net tank-to-wheels contribution of carbon dioxide to the greenhouse effect.
Volvo developed an alternative catalyst system to meet the demands of the PZEV/SULEV rating on the US market. The vehicle has two catalysts, one close-coupled to the engine that lowers initial start emissions, and one under the floor for reduced high-speed emissions. High-temperature materials in the exhaust manifold and turbo allow extremely high exhaust gas temperatures of up to 1,050 °C. This enables the car to run cleaner, accelerate quicker and operate more smoothly at higher speed.
The turbo-charged engine delivers 200hp (149 kW) of power, accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 8.7 seconds, and can be started directly on natural gas.
The Multi-Fuel vehicle contains one large and two smaller tanks totalling 98 liters (26 gallons US) for gaseous fuels (hythane, biomethane and CNG), and one 29-liter (8-gallon US) tank for liquid fuels (bioethanol E85 and gasoline).
The small gaseous fuel tanks are made of steel, whereas the large tank has a durable, gas tight aluminium liner, reinforced with high performance carbon-fiber composite and an exterior layer of hardened fiber-glass composite.
The fuel tanks fit under the luggage compartment floor, preserving the loading capacity. Two fuel fillers are used to fill up all five fuel types, one for gaseous and one for liquid fuels. The engine automatically adjusts itself to the right blend of gaseous or liquid fuels. To switch between fuel types, the driver presses a button.