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Volvo Trucks and Shell to cooperate globally on LNG for heavy-duty trucks

Volvo Trucks and Shell will cooperate globally on the introduction of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a fuel for commercial heavy duty trucks. Based on Volvo’s MethaneDiesel concept (earlier post) whereby LNG can be used in diesel engines, and Shell’s LNG expertise and infrastructure investments, the two companies will coordinate their activities and actively support the wider use of LNG in the transport sector.

The collaboration agreement is underway and work has begun with the first stage focused on selected markets in central Europe and in the United States. The agreement is non-exclusive both ways. On-going or future cooperation and dialogues with other partners will not be affected by this agreement.

The Volvo FM MethaneDiesel is equipped with the new methane-diesel technology and uses liquefied gas as its main fuel. The engine uses diesel to ignite the LNG. The proportions are up to 75% gas and 25% diesel, depending on the type of transport and driving cycle.

The truck is already available in Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK and at present the market roll-out is expanding into Italy and France.

Driving range of the Volvo FM MethaneDiesel is approximately 1,000 km (621 miles) on gas. Engine power output is 460 hp, torque 2300 N·m.



I think that this is a good idea but the Westport Innovations (Vancouver, BC) system goes a bit further in that it runs with less than 5% diesel and is a true diesel. The Volvo engine injects the NG during the intake stroke so the natural gas is essentially a homgeneous mixture with the air while the Westport engine injects the gas near top dead center of the compression stroke and uses a small amount of diesel to start the combustion. The NG and diesel injection is done with a single coaxial injector.



The earlier post mentions:

a. Compared with spark ignition methane engines, methane-diesel offers higher efficiency with 25% decrease in fuel consumption.

b. If the gas runs out, the system switches automatically to diesel power.

Sounds promising - fuel efficiency and the ability to run on diesel where methane is not available.

It will be interesting to see what proportion of new heavy trucks use methane, replacing expensive imported crude oil with local methane.

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