Volvo Trucks tests methane-diesel trucks together with Swedish customers

In February, Volvo Trucks will be starting field tests of methane-diesel engines. The technology will be tested in commercial operation together with a number of Swedish customers. “We are doing this so as to offer the market a superior combination of environmental properties, energy efficiency, driveability and low maintenance costs,” says Gunnar Ekwall, product manager for Volvo Trucks in the Nordic region.

The first seven customers participating in the field test are Borås Energi & Miljö, Ragn-Sells Sollentuna, Schenker-TGM Göteborg, Slaka Potatis Linköping, Svebol Logistics/Lidl Tumba, Viebke Åkeri Helsingborg and XR Miljöhantering Skövde. The eighth truck in the field test programme will be placed with a selected customer in the next few days. The trucks involved are two Volvo 7-litre models, the Volvo FL and Volvo FE.

Increasing demand for better gas powered trucks
As the network of biogas stations continues to expand, the market is showing far greater interest in better gas-powered vehicles. With the unique technology that Volvo Trucks has chosen, the diesel engine runs on a mixture of methane gas and diesel oil. As a result, the benefits of gas power are combined with the diesel engine’s roughly 35 percent higher efficiency rating compared with an engine using spark plug ignition. The truck thus consumes far less energy than conventional gas-powered trucks.

Energy-efficiency and reliability
“In addition to lower fuel consumption, methane diesel technology also brings higher reliability and lower maintenance costs. What is more, the driver can always continue driving on diesel fuel alone, if no gas is available. This makes it a practical and realistic alternative for many customers even in areas where the gas distribution infrastructure is not yet fully in place,” explains Gunnar Ekwall.

More facts

How Volvo Trucks' FL/FE gas powered trucks work

  • The solution is based on Volvo's proven, reliable Euro 5 diesel engines. When the engines are converted for gas operation, special tanks are added for pressurised methane gas (CNG/CBG). In addition, a separate fuel system is added with gas injectors in the inlet manifold. The trucks are converted for methane-diesel power in cooperation with Stadspartner using Hardstaff technology.
  • A small amount of diesel is injected and ignited by the compression, which in turn ignites the methane gas/air mixture. This saves the need for a spark plug and allows Volvo to make full use of the efficient diesel technology. As a result, the power and driveability are identical to that of a conventional diesel truck.
  • The amount of diesel required during operation varies, but Volvo Trucks aims to minimise the proportion of diesel.

Volvo Trucks' technology for methane gas + diesel - summary of strengths

  • Volvo Trucks is the first manufacturer to run efficient diesel engines on gas in with Euro 5 levels
  • Approximately 25 percent lower energy consumption compared to traditional gas operation.
  • Same power and driveability as conventional diesel trucks.
  • Using two fuels makes it possible to continue the journey using only diesel if the gas runs out - a useful feature until the gas distribution network is fully developed.
  • The engine's high efficiency rating, combined with the option of using liquid gas tanks, makes the technology a realistic option for long-haul operations.

Facts about methane gas
Both natural gas and biogas consist of methane. The difference is that natural gas is a fossil fuel, whereas biogas is produced from biodegradable material such as waste.

January 25, 2010

For further information please contact: 
Lennart Pilskog, Corporate Communications, tel +46 66492, e-mail
Fredrik Bohlin, Product Manager, tel +46 31 3231203, e-mail