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Volvo Powertrain to Incorporate Clean Air Power Natural Gas Dual-Fuel Technology into Volvo Truck Engines

The Dual-Fuel diesel-gas cycle. Click to enlarge.

Volvo Powertrain has signed a Letter of Intent with Clean Air Power Ltd. to incorporate UK-based Clean Air Power’s Dual-Fuel natural gas technology (earlier post) into Volvo Truck engines. Clean Air Power’s Dual-Fuel application enables diesel engines to operate primarily on up to 85-90% natural gas with diesel pilot ignition.

The letter of intent covers the development and commercialization of products which will include Clean Air Power’s technology and the intention is that they will be marketed and supported by Volvo Trucks.

The products will have the Clean Air Power technology fully interfaced with the Volvo engine management system and will be applied to Volvo’s D13 engine. This will provide the opportunity for greater levels of gas substitution than Clean Air Power’s existing Genesis system, with corresponding improved emissions and fuel cost reductions.

The Letter of Intent, to be superseded by a formal contract by the middle of 2009, provides for certain milestones relating to gas substitution levels, emissions compliance, performance and durability testing. Work on the product development has already been underway for some time.

Clean Air Power and Volvo engineers will work together to develop the products and the agreement provides for Clean Air Power to receive revenue from Volvo during the project. The first commercial products are anticipated to be available in late 2009 or early 2010.

Clean Air Power will supply its systems to Volvo, which will arrange installation and will take the lead in marketing the product on new vehicles while Clean Air Power will support Volvo’s activity and may carry out some conversions on customers' existing Volvo vehicles according to demand.

In addition and under Clean Air Power’s own responsibility, the agreement provides that Clean Air Power will market its Genesis solution on Volvo FM D13 Euro 5 vehicles from early 2009 which will provide a revenue opportunity for Clean Air Power in the period prior to the launch of the final interfaced Volvo Powertrain product.

Clean Air Power said that it has been in discussions with Volvo for some time. In 2007, Clean Air Power developed a Dual-Fuel exhibition FM9 9-liter truck in conjunction with Volvo Trucks. In February 2008, Volvo Powertrain and Clean Air Power cooperated to produce a second exhibition vehicle, a Mack Pinnacle 13 litre truck which was exhibited at WIREC (Washington International Renewable Energy Conference) in the USA.

The Volvo Group is the largest truck engine manufacturer in the world and its truck brands include, Renault, Mack, Nissan Diesel and Volvo.

Dual-Fuel. Dual-Fuel technology currently is available in two main product variants:

  • A system interfaced directly with the vehicle manufacturer’s ECU (the Hawk). Communication between ECUs is managed by Clean Air Power’s controller area network (CAN) interface. Interfaced control delivers the best from the Dual-Fuel system—optimized criteria pollutants; 90% fuel substitution (natural gas for diesel); and a greenhouse gas emissions. Interfaced Dual-Fuel can be offered as a production-fit or a retro-fit solution.

  • A less complex after-market retro-fit solution delivering the capability to exploit the commercial and environmental benefits of Dual-Fuel today, ahead of full-scale manufacture product offering (Genesis). Genesis requires no manufacturer ECU access. On-road, Genesis delivers 50% to 60% gas substitution. Genesis is available on Euro III DAF CF85 and Mercedes Axor vehicles, in addition to the work with Volvo.

Dual-Fuel systems have three main components: the electronic control unit (ECU); turbocharger air bypass (TAB); and gas injection system (electronically controlled gas injectors installed in a modified air inlet manifold.)

In addition to the current Dual-Fuel technology, Clean Air Power is developing MicroPilot, which will use smaller diesel pilot injections comprising 1-2% of the total fuel to reduce NOx emissions by more than 80%. Clean Air Power intends MicroPilot engines to be compliant with Euro V and beyond.



One of our local companies does the same thing.


Dual fuel especially with the retrofit option could be a major plus. Finance should be easier to obtain then buying a new truck. The price of diesel will surely return to and exceed previous highs. There hasn't been much talk of hybrid variants of large trucks such as eighteen wheelers. However I believe too much natural gas is being diverted to electrical generation in order to beat anticipated carbon taxes. The job of low carbon electrical generation should go to wind and nuclear freeing up gas for applications such as dual fuel trucks.


Just wondering how big a nat. gas tank needs to be to allow the same mileage as an existing tractor trailer diesel tank (ie how many times larger by volume).


Performance and Cost Considerations:
Heavy duty diesel truck engines outperform those powered with natural gas, though natural gas engines may perform well in less demanding applications. Diesel engines are powerful enough to haul heavy loads and climb steep hills, and their high fuel economy allows drivers to travel further between refuelings. Drivers of LNG heavy-duty trucks frequently report that LNG engines are less powerful than diesel engines.

In addition, natural gas vehicles have a smaller driving range because of the limited number of CNG and LNG refueling stations. As a result, natural gas vehicles typically must return to a central facility for refueling. Drivers of natural gas trucks also report poorer fuel economy than diesel truck drivers.

One gallon of LNG contains about 60 percent of the energy in a gallon of diesel fuel, and CNG contains even less energy per unit volume. The performance limitations of natural gas engines suggest that they may be a viable option only in certain niches, at least in the short run.

A heavy duty natural gas vehicle generally costs more than a diesel vehicle. According to a study of California LNG trucks, a conventional diesel truck may cost $70,000, but a natural gas truck costs more than $100,000. LNG truck prices might decrease if the market for natural gas vehicles increases substantially, but the cost of diesel vehicles is likely to increase with the adoption of green diesel technologies.

Neither diesel nor natural gas has a clear cost advantage when it comes to fuel. While a gallon of LNG generally is less expensive than a gallon of diesel, natural gas contains less energy than does diesel per unit volume.


When you copy parts of an article, please reference them:
The article you partially copied is from May 2001.

CNG-fuel is less expensive than diesel-fuel. For a gge (gasoline gallon equivalent) the price can be as low as $0.75 in the US.

Many American semi-rigs waste a lot of space, when the driver's cabin is placed behind the engine. If the cabin is placed above the engine, a lot of additional space can be gained behind the cabin for additional CNG tanks.

If CNG is added to a diesel-engine, more power can be generated than with diesel alone.


actually, May 1, 2000

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