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Volvo Trucks: Halfway through 2y trial, Bio-DME functioning well in daily commercial operations

The Bio-DME project aims to assess whether there is a market for Bio-DME (Di-Methyl-Ether) for commercial vehicles. (Earlier post.) Halfway through the two-year project the preliminary results show that Bio-DME already functions in daily commercial operations. If diesel fuel were to be replaced by Bio-DME, CO2 emissions could be reduced by 95%, according to Volvo Trucks.

Ten Volvo Bio-DME trucks have now been in regular operation since last autumn and halfway through the project, the results surpass expectations,, according to Volvo. A short while ago the first of the ten trucks broke through the 100,000 kilometer mark. All told, the trucks have covered 400,000 kilometers.

This is the first time Bio-DME is being used as a vehicle fuel on a large scale, and following the first evaluation of the field test we can see that the Bio-DME trucks function very well on the road, way exceeding our expectations. The technology is reliable and the entire process is characterized by energy-efficiency, from production and distribution all the way to the vehicles themselves.

—Per Salomonsson, Project Manager Alternative Fuels at Volvo

Together with a number of partners including Bio-DME producer Chemrec and fuel distributor Preem, Volvo has developed a transport system that encompasses the entire chain from production and distribution of Bio-DME to operation in Volvo trucks in a number of haulage firms.

Preem has established the four refueling stations in Stockholm, Göteborg, Jönköping and Piteå to ensure that the trucks can run in regular commercial operations.

The biofuel in this project is made from black liquor, a by-product of pulp production, at the Chemrec gasification plant in Piteå. The production system works smoothly and the possibility of delivering the fuel on a large scale depends to a considerable extent on the incentives available for renewable fuels.

The field test will continue until the end of the year, followed by an evaluation to chart the viability of a future market for Bio-DME.

Haulage firms participating in the study are PostNord, DHL, J-Trans, Bröderna Lindqvist Åkeri, BDX Företagen AB, and Ragn-Sells.

The Swedish Energy Agency and the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme support the project. In addition to Volvo Trucks, Chemrec and Preem, the other participants in the project are Delphi, ETC, Haldor Topsoe and Total.

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