The Volvo Group has produced seven demonstration trucks that can all be driven without emitting any environmentally harmful carbon dioxide.
These trucks were exhibited recently in Stockholm and are equipped with diesel engines that have been modified to operate on seven different types of renewable liquid and gaseous fuels.
The seven Volvo FM trucks are equipped with Volvo's own 9-liter engines that have been specially modified by the Group's engineers to illustrate the possibilities of carbon-dioxide-free transport.
"As one of the world's largest manufacturers of heavy trucks, diesel engines and buses, the Volvo Group is part of the climate problem," says Leif Johansson, CEO of Volvo. "But environmental issues are one of the areas which we have assigned the very highest priority, and based on our resources and knowledge, we both can and will be part of the solution."
The seven trucks exhibited in Stockholm can be operated on the same number of different renewable fuels and/or combinations of fuels: biodiesel, biogas combined with biodiesel, ethanol/methanol, DME, synthetic diesel and hydrogen gas combined with biogas. Since all of these fuels are produced from renewable raw materials, they provide no carbon-dioxide contributions to the ecosystem when combusted and, accordingly, do not impact the environment.
"The diesel engine is an extremely efficient energy converter that is perfectly suited to many different renewable fuels, liquid or gaseous," says Jan-Eric Sundgren, member of Volvo Group Management and senior vice president, Public and Environmental Affairs. "With our know-how in engine technology and our large volumes, we can manufacture engines for several different renewable fuels, and also create possibilities for carbon-dioxide-free transports in such other product areas as buses, construction equipment and boats."
However, the supply of different renewable fuels is significantly limited and there is no large-scale production or distribution for the majority of the alternatives that could be utilized in carbon-dioxide-free transports.
"With these vehicles, we have shown that Volvo is ready, that we possess the technology and the resources for carbon-dioxide-free transport, but we cannot do this alone," says Leif Johansson. "We also require large-scale production of renewable fuels and putting such production in operation requires extensive investments in research and development, and also well-defined, common guidelines from authorities in as many countries as possible."
Volvo has carried out its own analyses of the renewable fuels that are most suitable for carbon-dioxide-free transports. In these analyses, Volvo considered important aspects such as the impact on the environment, energy efficiency, the efficiency level in the use of the land for cultivating crops for the respective fuels, the amounts of the different fuels that can potentially be produced, the level of vehicle adaptation required in purely technical terms, the costs of the fuels and how easy it is to distribute the fuels.
"We know that in the foreseeable future there will be insufficient biomass or renewable fuels to fully replace fossil fuels," says Jan-Eric Sundgren. "That is why it is important that decisions on the production of future fuels are preceded by such comprehensive assessments - otherwise there is the risk that we focus on too many and quite simply unsuitable alternatives, which will delay the introduction of carbon dioxide-free transport."