Nov 20, 2009
Highly efficient biofuel could replace dieselBack
Construction|Diesel|DME|Preem|PROJECT|Road|Total|Volvo|Volvo Trucks|Sweden|Chemrec Plant|By-product|Chemicals|Diesel Oil|Energy|Energy Policy|Energy-intensive Transporters|Natural Gas|Oil And Gas|Product|Solutions|Transport|Transport Solutions|Environmental|Lars Mårtensson|Per Salomonsson|Operations|BIOFUELS|Diesel
© Reuse this
In the search for efficient alternatives to fossil fuels, producer of heavy trucks and transport solutions, Volvo Trucks, and other companies are at work, in Sweden, developing a new, highly efficient biofuel as a vehicle fuel.
Volvo Trucks is working with the European Union, the Swedish national authority for energy policy issues Swedish Energy Agency, Danish chemicals specialist Haldor Topsoe, oil and gas company Total, Swedish petroleum corporation Preem and biofuels producer Chemrec on this project, which started in September 2008, and will stretch over a total of four years.
There is a clear trend towards using increasingly large and heavy trucks for longer routes and, it is these energy-intensive transporters, reports the company, that are the focus in this strategic environmental drive by Volvo Trucks.
Dimethyl ether (DME) is a gas that is transformed into a liquid under low pressure, ensuring that its relatively straightforward to handle. As a fuel in a diesel engine, DME provides as high an efficiency rating as a traditional diesel engine, but with a lower noise level. The combustion process produces no soot, so a far simpler method of treating the exhaust gases can be used after emission. Also, the engine can produce a higher torque when starting off, which improves driveability.
EU estimates indicate that by 2030, Bio-DME has the potential to replace more than 50 % of the diesel oil currently used for heavy road transport. DME can be produced from natural gas and from a variety of biomass sources, in which case it is known as Bio-DME.
The Volvo Trucks project involves the development of DME fuel from black liquor, a by-product of the forestry industry. Alongside the Chemrec plant, in Piteå, in northern Sweden, construction has started on a facility for extracting DME from black liquor obtained from the nearby pulp plant. The cooking chemicals produced by the gasification of the black liquor are then sent back to the pulp plant, creating a closed circuit with unparalleled energy efficiency.
The company reports that it is five times more efficient than biodiesel in terms of the transport kilometres obtained from each hectare of land used for the raw material cultivation.
Meanwhile, Volvo Trucks director for environmental affairs Lars Mårtensson says, "The Bio-DME project creates exciting new possibilities for testing DME in realistic conditions among our regular customers." From mid-2010, 14 Volvo FH trucks will be field tested in regular day-to-day operations by customers throughout Sweden.
Preem will be responsible for distributing Bio-DME and will build four Bio-DME fuel stations for the test trucks so that the trucks can be used under entirely normal regional and local operating conditions.
Edited by: Brindaveni Naidoo© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Transport & Logistics News
Updated 28 minutes ago Government aimed to fast-track certain “fast-growing” infrastructure programmes, despite cutting back on expenditure over the next few years, the 2014 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) revealed on Wednesday. The MTBPS, released by new Finance Minister...
Updated 28 minutes ago Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene confirmed a further direct allocation to power utility Eskom of at least R20-billion. But he also stressed on Wednesday that the injection would have no impact on the Budget deficit as the capital would be raised through the sale of...
Updated 28 minutes ago Government’s plans for reining in the country’s public procurement would be outlined in the Public Procurement Review, which will be published next month. Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene told Parliament on Wednesday that the document would “clearly” outline the...
Updated 28 minutes ago National Treasury this week froze the public personnel headcount and embarked on a review of funded vacancies in an effort to curb State spending and re-establish a sustainable foundation for the public purse. In his inaugural Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement...