A Volvo Truck with a DME engine.

Alternative fuel lineup on display

Volvo trucks powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) and dimtethyl ether (DME) will be on display this week at the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, North America’s largest alternative fuel and clean vehicle technology conference. The vehicles highlight Volvo Trucks’ leadership in alternative fuel and driveline development.

The CNG- and DME-powered Volvo VNL models at the show are a just two offerings in Volvo’s robust alternative fuel lineup. Volvo announced June 6 that it would commercialize DME-powered vehicles in 2015 as part of its comprehensive “Blue Power” alternative fuels strategy for North America.

Volvo currently offers VNM and VNL daycabs powered by spark-ignited gas engines, and VNL daybcabs equipped with Volvo’s proprietary D13-LNG compression ignition engine will be available in 2014.

“The trucks we’re showcasing highlight our comprehensive alternative fuels strategy for North America,” said Ed Saxman, Volvo Trucks alternative fuels product manager. “Interest in natural gas-powered trucks continues to boom, and we’re working to address demand from all segments of the market. We’re also excited about the potential of DME, which has proven to be an excellent fuel for heavy-duty trucks.”

DME mirrors the exceptional performance qualities and energy efficiency of diesel and burns clean without producing any soot, so no diesel particulate filter (DPF) is necessary. It’s non-toxic and non-carcinogenic and can be made from natural gas or a variety of sustainable feedstocks, like biogas from food and animal waste, landfills and grass clippings. When produced from biomass or biogas, DME can provide up to a 95 percent CO2 reduction compared with diesel. DME has been used around the world for decades as a cooking fuel and as an aerosol propellant in cosmetics and other household products.

Volvo’s D13-LNG and D13-DME engines will be based on the Volvo D13 engine, the top-selling heavy-duty engine in the world, and the Volvo I-Shift automated manual transmission will be standard on both models.

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