New cooperation around alternative fuels

In the search for the fuel of the future, it is important that all of society’s players pull in the same direction. Together with universities, research institutes and industry, Volvo Technology is participating in f3 – Sweden’s hitherto biggest cooperative venture on alternative fuels.

“One might say that Volvo represents the end-user in the Swedish Centre of Excellence for Renewable Fuels,” says Anders Röj, fuel coordinator in the Volvo Group.
All told there are 18 participants in the Centre of Excellence, which has been given the name “f3”, an abbreviation of “fossil free fuels”.
“This is the first Swedish joint venture in the field of fuels to bring together so many big names, and I dare say it is quite unique in Europe,” comments Anders Röj.

He says that this collaboration between researchers, industry and government has created a know-how centre that can currently be described as an empty shell, but one that will be filled with research and system studies focusing on energy raw materials and fuel production. The projects may for instance consist of comparative studies of different kinds of fuels, processes, raw materials and plant design.

“There is a lot of interest in alternative-fuel issues and it is important that it is coordinated and channelled so that everyone pulls in the same direction. Things become both too expensive and too uncertain if the various parties involved each work toward different goals,” says Anders Röj.

“It is important to choose the right alternative to today’s fossil fuels. Among the many important criteria, it is necessary to have a large raw-material base, emissions of fossil CO2 must be low and energy efficiency must be high,” he continues.

In its preliminary phase, f3 has received three-year funding of 30 million Swedish kronor from the Swedish Energy Agency. Volvo Technology has initially adopted something of a support role and is not at this stage investing financially in the project.

“We have undertaken to contribute our vehicle-related expertise and to participate in structuring the project as a whole. Energy suppliers such as Preem can be expected to be most active. For them, f3’s forthcoming activities can have a direct effect on their core operation: the production, distribution and sale of fuels and other energy media. However, specific projects that are of direct interest to Volvo’s business operations may well be relevant within the framework of the project,” explains Anders Röj.

The aim is that during the initial three-year period, the project should reach firmer ground as regards various renewable alternative fuels and that f3 in turn should form the basis for further collaboration. One important aim is to be able to contribute scientific results and conclusions that will form a factual basis for subsequent political decision-making.

“This will be a major help in choosing the right track for future fuels, and it is our hope that f3 will also serve as a national basis for the EU’s biofuel platform,” concludes Anders Röj.

The following are participants in f3, the Swedish Centre of Excellence for Renewable Fuels:
Chalmers University of Technology
Chalmers industriteknik
Swedish Energy Agency
E.ON Sverige
Göteborg Energi
IVL, Swedish Environmental Research Institute
Royal Institute of Technology
Faculty of Engineering at Lund University
Sekab E-technology
SP, Technical Research Institute of Sweden
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Umeå University
Volvo Technology
Region Västra Götaland