Volvo launches biogas-driven trucks

With fuel prices going through the roof, fleet owners in particular are looking for an alternative source.

Volvo Trucks, always pushing the envelope, now introduces trucks that can run on liquified biogas and yes, it may well become available in South Africa.

Biogas, also referred to as bio-LNG, is a renewable fuel that is produced from sources like organic waste and can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 100%.

“Biogas is a great complement to electric transports, helping haulers with their sustainability ambitions and aims towards climate neutral transports,” says Waldemar Christensen, MD of Volvo Trucks South Africa.

“That is especially true for Southern Africa, where fleets need to travel long distances to deliver cargo across the region for which bio-LNG trucks, with their larger 225kg fuel tanks and a range of up to 1 000km, would be ideal.”

The gas-powered trucks, the Volvo FH and FM, are getting a new power level of 500hp, joining the previous 420 and 460hp engines. The gas engines also get a major technical upgrade that make them up to 4% more fuel efficient, which together with a new 10% larger gas tank, contributes to a longer range.

Eric Parry, sustainability solutions manager at Volvo Trucks South Africa, points out that there is no single solution that can solve climate change.

“The strengthened gas-powered line-up fits well 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,” explains Parry.

In South Africa, the first Volvo electric trucks will arrive in March 2023. However, LNG and Bio-LNG infrastructure, supply and dispensing are still a major challenge in the country.

“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,” comments Parry.

“However, locally we are in a position to work with customers and suppliers to bring bio-LNG vehicles in as needed.”

Facts about Volvo’s gas-powered trucks:

  • Product models: Volvo FH, FM and FMX (on request).
  • Power levels: 420, 460 and 500hp.
  • Fuel: bio-LNG (liquefied biogas) or LNG. A small amount of diesel or HVO is used to ignite the gas.
  • Range: up to 1 000km**.
  • Engine technology: By utilising 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 new gas powered Euro6 step E engines are up to 4% more fuel efficient** than the step D engines.
  • 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.

Facts about liquified gas:

  • Bio-LNG (also called LBG) is a renewable fuel that is liquid biogas (biomethane). Any organic waste can be digested to produce biogas, for example, sludge from treatment plants, food waste, manure and other residual products.
  • LNG (liquified natural gas) is a fossil gas (methane) that is extracted from underground or undersea reserves.
  • 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 Commissions goal (REPower EU) is to boost annual biogas production ten times to 35 billion cubic metres 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.

Source: Tanje Wandrag

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