Volvo Trucks - opening the door to a non fossil transport system
12 Apr 2012
Imagine a fuel that reduces carbon emissions by 95% compared to diesel, which is cost-effective and produced from biomass. It sounds like an incredible scenario of the future but is actually already a fact in a Volvo Trucks' field testing of the next generation bio-fuel Bio-DME.
Lars Mårtensson, Enviromental Director Volvo Trucks.
"The field tests have shown very positive results. We have demonstrated that the technology is working, but we have also succesfully communicated that we have a new fuel, and it´s working.
At present there are four fuel stations, in different parts of Sweden, to ensure that the trucks can run in normal commercial traffic.
Yngve Holm, Test Driver Piteå
"We can drive about 650 kilometres
on a full tank. There's no noticeable difference, really.
But it's quieter, even on the outside.
We need to think about the environment.
This is a step in the right direction.
I have a good feeling about it."
The swedish company Chemrec is Volvo Trucks partner and producer of the fuel.
Bio-DME can be produced from basically any biomass source. Chemrecs plant in Piteå in the north of Sweden is connected to a pulp mill and uses it's black liquor - a very energetic, and completely natural by-product from pulp manufacturing.
Instead of burning the black liquor, which is normally done when used as an energy source in the pulp mill, it is gasified to synthetic gas, which in turn can be converted to, for example, dimethyl ether, DME.
The energy loss in the pulp production system is solved by adding low-grade bio mass in the form of branches, roots and tops from the forest to the bio mass boiler. The system is very efficient and therefore minimizes the usage of bio mass in the production.
Bio-DME can replace half of the total diesel production for heavy goods vehicles in Sweden. The plant in Piteå, currently uses only one percent of the black liquor in the pulp mill - the potential in Sweden, and in the world, is enormous.
Ingvar Landälv, chief technology officer, Chemrec.
"The pulping here in Piteå is a typical average sized pulp mill if you look at the worlds size of pulp mills. If you would take all the black liquor from this mill and convert it to a fuel like DME it would be sufficient to fuel about 2 500 trucks - heavy duty trucks. And there are about 20 such mills in Sweden. "
The project has opened the door to a future transport system. For the participants the next step is to make the full-scale production, not just an ambition, but reality.
Max Jönsson, CEO, Chemrec
"Chemrecs technology is now at a state where it can be built and guaranteed by very large and international construction companies. Really; now the challenge is for the law makers to put to place the required stability and predictability in bio fules legalization."
"I´m very positive about the future. Because with our field test we have gained so much interest that now we see trends going in the right direction, with investments into the production of future fuels aswell as investments into the right infrastructure, so we´re going in the right directions."
Marie VassiliadisDirector, Media RelationsSwedenmarie.firstname.lastname@example.org+46 31 3224127