Swedish truck maker Volvo said it’s seeing hauliers and transport buyers moving towards refrigerated liquefied gas as a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to diesel.

With the EU Green Deal clearly indicating the direction the transport industry needs to take towards a cleaner future, Volvo’s new Volvo FH and FM trucks will have engines that run on LNG and biogas.

“Today, LNG-fuelled trucks are the most commercially viable alternative to ordinary diesel for heavy long-haul operations,” said Lars Mårtensson, Director of Environment and Innovation at Volvo Trucks.

“This fuel is available in sufficiently large quantities and at a competitive price. Using more gas trucks creates favourable conditions for making a transition to a larger share of liquefied biogas over time.”

Volvo said its driveline for LNG and biogas has an energy-efficiency comparable to that of its diesel-powered counterparts but produces significantly lower CO2 emissions.

Using liquefied biogas, also known as Bio-LNG, reduces net emissions by up to 100% from tank to wheel (TTW), while using natural gas cuts emissions by around 20% (TTW) compared with ordinary European standard diesel.

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Source: Volvo Trucks

“By investing in LNG trucks, we are showing that Bio-LNG is an important alternative to reduce dependency on fossil diesel,” Mårtensson said.

“However, to speed up the transition to climate-neutral transport, it is necessary to continue investing in liquefied gas filling stations and carrying out measures to make it easier for hauliers to invest in heavy gas-powered vehicles.”

“Embracing new technology will be the key to achieving climate neutrality. The share of LNG trucks will gradually increase in Europe.”

Hydrogen

“But gas trucks won’t be able to meet all transport challenges. Electromobility will play an important role locally, as well as regionally going forward, and the development of batteries and charging infrastructure will be important factors in its expansion,” Mårtensson continued.

Electromobility using hydrogen fuel cells has potential to reduce the need for batteries in long-haul transport in the longer term, Volvo said.

“Although promising developments have been made in hydrogen fuel cell technology, there are still practical and financial obstacles to overcome before it can provide significant climate benefits in heavy-duty transport.”