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
Bombardier to build 170 high-speed rail cars for Siemens
Bombardier Transportation will develop and supply major railway car components for Deutsche Bahn AG [more]
English-French partners show all-electric aircraft at Paris Air Show
Global aerospace company the EADS Group revealed today at the Paris Air Show an electric aircraft it [more]
Renewables will surpass natural gas, nuclear by 2016: IEA
The generation of power from hydro, wind, solar and other renewable sources will exceed that from na [more]
Wood proponents pushing higher with hybrid construction
The proposition is startlingly obvious in its simplicity: the earth grows our food, and the earth sh [more]
Canada one of only three countries where clean energy investment grew
Investment in clean energy technology has been declining around the world. It fell 11 percent last y [more]
Artificial leaf converts sunlight, water to fuel
Creating fuels by mimicking the natural process of photosynthesis in plants has been the goal of [more]

Other Popular News and Stories

  • First wood frame mid-rise construction in Toronto will be condos
  • Manufacturing takes a hit as water heater plant closes in Fergus
  • Strength to build on, but Canada still lags in industrial R&D
  • Agile robotic arm could catch space debris, falling humans
  • World's first 3D printed auto manufacturing platform
  • Canada's small businesses encouraged to invest for success
  • Overseas growth in future for Canada's air transportation industry
  • If Keystone XL dies, will Energy East replace it?
  • Manufacturing sales rose sharply in some sectors in January: Statistics Canada
  • Canada one of only three countries where clean energy investment grew
  • Researchers claim breakthrough in artificial photosynthesis
  • Siemens gives Western U engineering huge PLM software grant
  • Renewable energy use increased in US in 2012
  • Quebec aerospace industry focused on US growth
  • Bombardier CSeries finally flies the skies of Paris
  • Containment system can trap offshore oil leaks, protect environment
  • Honda Canada makes its 7-millionth car, a Civic EX Sedan
  • Canada keeping up pressure on US for Keystone XL approval
  • Pipelines, railways equally safe for transporting crude oil: report
  • Airbus Helicopters announces new production at Fort Erie plant