In 2010, Volvo Trucks will start conducting field tests involving Bio-DME. This is a biofuel that generates very low carbon dioxide emissions. In the long term, it has the potential to replace 50% of diesel used for transport operations in Europe.
The field test is being made possible through a broad-based joint project involving, among others, the European Union, the Swedish Energy Agency, fuel companies, and the transport industry. The aim is to assess the potential of DME (Di-Methyl-Ether) as a vehicle fuel.
DME produced from biomass, known as Bio-DME, has both high energy efficiency and low greenhouse gas emissions all the way from the source to the wheel. The raw material used is black liquor, an energy-rich, highly viscous by-product of the pulp industry. With Bio-DME instead of diesel as a fuel, carbon dioxide emissions are cut by 95%.
Volvo Trucks is participating in the project by contributing 14 Volvo FH trucks that will be tested by selected customers at four locations in different parts of Sweden between 2010 and 2012. Fuel company Preem will build filling stations so the trucks can be used in regular regional and local operations. The first field-test truck was unveiled recently in Piteå, where the production of Bio-DME will take place.
Volvo’s DME truck uses a regular D13 engine which, after some modifications to the tank system, injection system and engine management software, functions perfectly together with the biofuel.