Liquefied biogas Volvo Trucks models getting a new power level of 500 hp; more fuel efficient, larger tank
Five years ago, Volvo Trucks launched its trucks that can run on liquified biogas (bio-LNG), which is a renewable fuel that can be produced from many types of organic waste, including food scraps. The fuel can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 100%. (A small amount of diesel or HVO is used to ignite the gas.)
The gas-powered trucks—the Volvo FH and FM—are getting a new power level of 500 hp, joining the previous 420 and 460 hp engines. The gas Euro6 step E engines also get major technical upgrades that makes them up to 4% more fuel efficient than the Step D engines, which together with a new 10% larger gas tank, contributes to a longer range.
The gas engines have been completely updated and the increased efficiency is obtained by new injectors and pistons for lowered friction, together with a new turbo, variable oil pump, and Crank Case Ventilation that handles unfiltered oil.
By utilizing the diesel engine’s high efficiency, the same drivability as a diesel truck is achieved, making it possible to run with high loads and cover long distances.
The strengthened gas-powered line up fits with Volvo Trucks‘ three-path strategic roadmap to reach zero emissions: battery electric trucks, fuel cell trucks and combustion engines that run on renewable fuels like biogas, HVO or even green hydrogen.
Several technical solutions are needed because the availability of energy and fuel infrastructure differs greatly between countries and regions, and also because the requirements for each transport assignment can vary.—Daniel Bergstrand, product manager for gas-powered trucks at Volvo Trucks
European production of bio-LNG is expected to ramp up quickly to shift away from the use of fossil LNG. The EU Commission has put forward a plan called REPower EU, where the focus is on creating greatly increased domestic production capacity for different kinds of energy. The plan is to boost annual biogas production ten times by 2030 and the sector has already started a rapid growth phase. Also outside of Europe the potential for biogas is gaining interest.
The process for liquifying biogas is the same as for LNG; the gas is cooled down to –162 °C. The fuel then takes significantly less space, which makes it possible to bring a much larger amount of energy onboard the truck, which increases the range significantly.
The EU Commission’s goal (REPower EU) is to boost annual biogas production ten times to 35 billion cubic meters by 2030. More than 78 bio-LNG plants are already confirmed to be ready in Europe by 2024. Germany and Italy, together with the Netherlands, are expected to be the leading bio-LNG countries in the coming years.