Mike Stevens | Oct 16, 2009

EARLIER THIS YEAR, the Swedish Government announced plans to have the country free of its oil dependency by 2030.

It is an undertaking that affects more than just the car industry. Volvo Trucks has this week responded with the announcement of field tests that will have 14 of its trucks running on Bio-DME, an energy-rich biofuel.

Made from black liquor, a by-product of the pulp industry, Bio-DME is a clean and energy-efficient fuel that results from the black liquor's gasification.

"From the holistic viewpoint, Bio-DME is one of the most promising second-generation bio-fuels,” Lars Mårtensson, Environmental Affairs Director at Volvo Trucks, said.

"Bio-DME provides both high energy efficiency and low emissions of greenhouse gases. We value these two properties particularly highly as we analyse various possible alternative fuels."

volvo-trucks_03

Partnering with the European Union, the Swedish Energy Agency, fuel companies and Europe's transport industry, the project will help to determine the feasibility of a large-scale rollout of Bio-DME powered trucks.

Volvo Trucks is providing the 14 FH model trucks for 'real world' testing by freight and trucking companies between 2010 and 2012.

The DME trucks provided by Volvo are powered by a 328kW Euro V compliant D13 engine, with modifications to the tank, injection system and engine management software to cater to the different fuel.

Despite its energy-rich nature, bio-DME has just over half the energy content of diesel, meaning larger tanks need to be fitted to the trucks.

To keep the project fueled, a special production facility has been established, where over four tonnes of Bio-DME will be produced.

"The field test will give us valuable new insight into the potential of Bio-DME as a future vehicle fuel,” Volvo Trucks President and CEO, Staffan Jufors, said

“The project still requires many tests, larger-scale fuel production and an extended infrastructure. And, perhaps most of all, clear guidelines from the authorities on how they view the fuel."

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