Manufacturing News from the Engineered Designer Perspective

Volvo will use DME to fuel heavy-duty trucks in North America

Volvo Trucks said it plans to use dimethyl ether (DME) as a fuel for its heavy-duty trucks. It is the first North American manufacturer to do so. DME is a non-toxic, non-carcinogenic fuel that can be made from a variety of organic sources, the Volvo statement says. It is a clean-burning alternative to diesel that is frequently used as a propellant in consumer products such as household sprays and cosmetics.

Volvo said that DME “mirrors” the exceptional performance qualities and energy efficiency of diesel, but has a number of important environmental properties as well. One of these is that it produces no soot when combusted. Compared to diesel, it produces up to 95 per cent less CO2.

Also of benefit to both producers and end users is the fact that DME can be made from many organic sources. DME can be produced from natural gas, coal, waste from pulp and paper mills, forest products, agricultural by-products, municipal waste and dedicated fuel crops such as switchgrass. Using North America’s “abundant supply of natural gas” makes sense in a couple of ways, Volvo says. It will help North America achieve energy independence. And it will address many of the “challenges” presented by natural gas as a heavy truck fuel. Because DME is easily liquefied, requiring only moderate pressure or cooling, it is easy to transport and store.

As well, only moderate modifications are required to convert a diesel-burning engine to one that burns DME.

The Volvo DME technology will be available in a Volvo D13 engine. The DME-powered vehicles will join a line-up that already includes Volvo VNM and VNL models that can be specified to run on compressed or liquefied natural gas. It will also introduce a proprietary LNG compression-ignition engine, North America’s first fully integrated natural gas solution, in Volvo VNL models next year.

“We are proud to be a leader in providing alternative transportation solutions to the market,” said Goran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North American Sales and Marketing. “It is clear that DME technology shows great potential for North America and allows Volvo to further its commitment to both our customers and the environment.”

Volvo has been working on a number of CO2 neutral fuels for commercial vehicles, including DME, for several years. It showcased seven different fuels in Brussels in 2007 and in the US in 2008. Volvo now plans to commercialize DME-powered vehicles in North America in 2015.

More Great Stories
Auto industry back on top as Canada’s biggest exporter: report
Canada’s auto industry is “single-handedly” boosting the country’s manufacturing activit [more]
Tesla phenomenon will change both how cars are imagined and sold
Is it a problem that other auto makers would love to have? Or is just a massive problem that cou [more]
Federal government must help Ontario close widening “skills gap” through immigration reforms
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) wants the federal government to do more to help Ontario cl [more]
Economy outperforms in January; manufacturing leads broad-based growth
Canada’s economy performed better than expected in January, turning out a 0.6 per cent increas [more]
Little certainty about toxicity of BPA in food cans despite new report
A new report on the presence of Bisphenol A (BPA) in food can linings focuses on the potentially [more]
Ontario homebuilder first to offer power storage system as option
Panasonic’s Residential Solar PV + Energy Storage Solution will be offered as an upgrade for p [more]

Other Popular News and Stories

  • Economy managed slight growth in Q4, but shrank in December
  • Skilled labour shortage in world oil industry: report
  • Federal money continues to flow to clean technology innovators
  • Lockheed Martin seeking industry partners in new innovation and research facility
  • Petronas defers final investment decision on BC LNG project
  • World's biggest gold-copper mine wins government approval in BC
  • Ford announces Edge production will remain in Oakville
  • Canada keeping up pressure on US for Keystone XL approval
  • Mexican oil and gas re-opened to foreign companies after 76 years
  • Relief as Ontario company rescues closing Heinz plant
  • LNG activity heating up in BC as Petronas seeks export licence
  • Scientists create liquid fuel from solar energy
  • Government money to Ontario auto parts maker will ensure jobs
  • Porter Airlines seeks to extend island airport runway for jets
  • Progress made on Detroit River cleanup: fish no longer smells
  • Canada's auto sales soar; Toyota passes 100K mark for hybrids
  • Anticipation building for first test flight of Bombardier CSeries
  • Nuclear industry makes do with refurbishment as new plants cancelled
  • NASA projects look to the future, and to science fiction
  • Airbus Helicopters announces new production at Fort Erie plant