MIAMI — Volvo Trucks Friday announced plans to launch its own 13-liter liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine for North America in 2014.
The announcement came during a news conference at a Volvo event under way here.
The engine’s advanced high pressure diesel ignition technology will provide significant fuel efficiency gains compared with current natural gas products, according to Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Trucks North America sales and marketing.
Combined with the company’s previously announced offering of compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered Volvo VNM and VNL model day cabs, the new engine will provide customers with a complete range of natural gas-powered transportation solutions, Huibers said, adding that Volvo is also testing another fuel that can be produced from natural gas, DME (dimethyl ether), which has the potential to become an attractive alternative for the North American market.
“Despite the near-term infrastructure questions regarding widespread adoption of natural gas as a heavy-duty truck fuel, it’s clear this segment will grow over the next several years,” Huibers said. “We’re already delivering factory-built CNG-powered trucks, and as the long-haul fueling infrastructure develops, the advanced technology in our new LNG engine will provide increased range and improved fuel efficiency in a seamlessly integrated Volvo powertrain.”
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Through advanced high pressure diesel ignition technology – using trace amounts of diesel to ignite the natural gas – Volvo’s LNG engine will deliver a 30 percent fuel efficiency improvement compared with spark-ignition (SI) engines, making it a viable alternative for demanding long-haul applications, Huibers said.
The Volvo 13-liter LNG engine will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 20 percent compared with current diesel products.
“The engine will accomplish these savings without sacrificing power, torque or fuel efficiency, all of which are critical attributes for on-highway operations,” Huibers said.
The Volvo Group was the No. 1 supplier of 13-liter heavy-duty engines to the combined U.S. and Canadian market last year.
“The same vertically integrated approach that has made Volvo a global powertrain leader is being applied to the development of the new engine,” Huibers said, noting that the company’s proprietary Volvo I-Shift automated mechanical transmission also will be available for customers to specify.
Kevin Jones The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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