Volvo trucks in multiple field testing of diesel technology for alternative fuels

At the Energitinget energy symposium in Stockholm on 16-17 March, Volvo Trucks presented several solutions showing that the company is a leader in alternative fuels for trucks performing both long-haul and local operations. These solutions could play a key role in helping Sweden and EU achieve their target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2020.

“We will soon initiate field testing of both methane diesel technology and bio-DME technology,” revealed Lennart Pilskog, Volvo Trucks’ Director of Public Affairs, at the Energitinget symposium. “This is a continuation of Volvo Trucks' 2007 initiative, when the company presented drivable trucks for seven different alternative fuels.”

Bio-DME trucks to be tested this autumn
Energitinget 2010 was the twelfth Energitinget symposium, and attracted around 2,300 visitors. At the symposium, five speakers from Volvo Trucks discussed energy efficiency, logistics and fuel development. Volvo Trucks also spoke about one of  its focus areas in alternative fuels: Bio-DME, which produces 95% lower CO2 emissions than diesel. In September 2010, field testing will start using the first FH trucks with 13-litre engines. The company also announced which customers will participate in the field tests.

“It has just been finalised that six haulage companies in four locations will drive the trucks daily in both long-haul and local operations,” said Per Salomonsson, DME project manager at Volvo. “These hauliers are DHL, Posten Logistik, Green Cargo, Bröderna Lindqvist Åkeri, J-Trans and Ragn-Sells. The field tests will be evaluated in 2012. After that, we will decide how to proceed.”

Methane diesel soon to be commercialised
Volvo Trucks is also at the forefront in developing methane diesel technology. According to Pilskog, this technology offers an extremely attractive combination of lower CO2 emissions, high energy efficiency, excellent drivability and reduced maintenance costs.
Field tests of methane diesel technology for gas operation will soon start in collaboration with eight Swedish haulage companies, which will use diesel and methane gas (CNG) in Volvo FL and Volvo FE trucks with 7-litre engines.

Methane diesel technology also suitable for long-haul operations
The next step is a new solution presented at Energitinget: diesel combined with liquid methane gas (LNG). The solution will be field-tested in UK and Sweden on Volvo FM trucks with 13-litre engines.

“Methane gas combined with diesel in a diesel enginge offers twice the operational range of a traditional spark ignition gas engine. Liquid methane gas offers four times the operational range of the gas trucks typically used today, making the technology highly attractive for long-haul operations," explains Pilskog. “What’s more, if the gas filling stations are too far apart, the truck can continue running on only diesel. This technology could play a key role in helping Sweden achieve its target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020.”

“We’ve taken several important steps towards commercialising the technology, and plan to start selling trucks powered by methane gas and diesel in 2011. We’ll start with a limited number of trucks with a view to increasing the volumes in 2012.”

Collaboration gets results
“The important thing for us is to achieve results, and this is best done by collaborating with other players," explains Lars Mårtensson, Environmental Director, Volvo Trucks. “We maintain active dialogue with fuel producers and distributors, transport and logistics companies, authorities and research institutions, and are open to further collaborations.”

One concrete example is the project Klimatneutrala godstransporter på väg (Climate Neutral Road Haulage), a collaboration between authorities, universities, manufacturers and the transport industry. This network has provided the basis for several joint projects between the participants, including field testing of the new fuels.

“Chemrec will establish a production facility in Piteå, Sweden,  in preparation for the Bio-DME tests, and Preem will build filling stations in Stockholm, Göteborg, Jönköping and Piteå. In the methane diesel field tests, AGA, Eon and Fordonsgas will be responsible for establishing the filling stations for liquid methane gas. Customers looking to reduce their CO2 emissions will actively participate in the tests, and authorities will work on establishing regulations," explains Pilskog.


  • Both methane diesel and Bio-DME technology are based on Volvo’s proven, reliable diesel engine with Euro 5 technology, compliant with the latest strict exhaust emission standards.
  • Methane diesel technology uses a small amount of diesel to ignite the engine, but the main fuel is methane gas. Fossil methane gas will initially be used. However, gas providers aim to switch to biogas as biogas production becomes increasingly widespread in Sweden. Fossil methane gas reduces CO2 emissions up to 20%; biogas reduces these emissions by 95%.
  • Bio-DME trucks operate on Bio-DME, which in this project is derived from black liquor, a by-product of pulp production, thereby reducing CO2 emissions by over 95% from a well-to-wheel perspective.

March 18, 2010

For further information, please contact:    
Lennart Pilskog, Corporate Communications, phone +46 31 664926, email
Jenny Björsne, Corporate Communications, phone +46 31 664523, email