Volvo Trucks has introduced heavy-duty trucks that run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) or biogas and have the same performance, driveability and fuel consumption as Volvo’s diesel-powered models. Furthermore, the new trucks’ CO2 emissions are 20 to 100 per cent lower than the diesel models-- depending on choice of fuel--making them Euro 6-compliant. The new Volvo FH LNG and Volvo FM LNG are available with 420 or 460 hp for heavy regional and long-haul operations.
"With our new trucks running on liquefied natural gas or biogas, we can offer an alternative with low climate impact that also meets high demands on performance, fuel efficiency and operating range. This is a combination that our customers in regional and long haulage require," said Lars Mårtensson, Director--Environment and Innovation, Volvo Trucks.
Instead of an Otto cycle engine, which is the conventional solution for gas-powered vehicles, the Volvo FH LNG and Volvo FM LNG are powered by gas engines utilising diesel-cycle technology. This means that an operator who chooses gas can do so without compromising on driveability, fuel efficiency or reliability. Volvo's 460 hp gas engine delivers maximum torque of 2300 Nm while the 420 hp version produces 2100 Nm. This is the same as Volvo's corresponding diesel engines. The fuel consumption is on par with Volvo's diesel engines, but 15 to 25 per cent lower than for conventional gas engines. The engine is a 13-litre in-line six-cylinder Volvo G13C Euro 6 and the truck possesses the Volvo I-Shift transmission.
The fuel used is natural gas in the form of LNG or biogas, known as bio-LNG. Both fuels consist of methane. If biogas is used, the climate footprint can shrink by as much as 100 per cent and if natural gas is used, the reduction is 20 per cent. The vehicle comes fitted with a small diesel tanks along with the bio-LNG tank which are available with 115 kg (275 l), 155 kg (375 l) or 205 kg (495 l) LNG for up to 1000 km operating range. The exhaust fumes can be treated with a particulate filter.
In order to maximise the driving range, the tanks are filled with LNG, which is stored at four to ten bar pressure at a temperature of -140 to -125 °C. The biggest fuel tank variant contains enough LNG for a range of up to 1000 km and refuelling takes about the same time as with diesel. When driving, the fuel is warmed up, pressurised and converted into a gas before it is injected into the engine. In order to ignite the gas, a tiny quantity of diesel is added at the moment of injection. A 100 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions requires that fossil diesel is replaced with hydrogenated vegetable oils (HVO) and combined with bio-LNG.
Volvo Trucks is now working together with gas suppliers and customers to develop the expansion of LNG infrastructure in Europe. This development is also being supported politically in many countries and by the EU. A strategy for expanding LNG infrastructure is also included in the European Commission and member states' action packages for securing Europe's long-term energy supply.
The sales for Volvo FM LNG and Volvo FH LNG will begin in the spring of 2018.