LNG is the future of long haul, believes Volvo

03 October 2017

One of the biggest truck manufacturers has stated its support for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as the fuel of the immediate future for heavy goods transport.

Volvo Trucks believes that by replacing diesel with liquefied natural gas or biogas, CO2 emissions from heavy trucks can be drastically reduced. The company is now said to be intensifying its development of gas-powered trucks for heavy regional and long-haul operations.

“Many of our customers and their clients already work hard to reduce their environmental footprint. Our vision is that trucks from Volvo will eventually have zero emissions, although the way of achieving that is not by one single solution but rather through several solutions in parallel,” said Lars Mårtensson, Director Environment and Innovation at Volvo Trucks.

“Natural gas is a fossil fuel, but it can produce 20 per cent lower CO2 emissions than diesel, while renewable BioGas reduces the overall impact further. It is used primarily in industrial operations, but has excellent prerequisites for being a competitive vehicle fuel.”

By using methane in liquid form, it is possible to carry larger quantities of fuel and thus ensure the necessary operating range for long-haul assignments. Both natural gas and biogas consist largely of methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas. This makes it particularly important to minimise the risk of gas leakage during transport, refuelling and operation of the vehicle.

“While biogas is thus far only produced in limited quantities, the long-term availability of natural gas is excellent from a global perspective, which will aid short term large-scale expansion, as is a competitive price,” he added.

In many European countries, natural gas costs less than diesel. A strategy for expanding LNG infrastructure is also included in the European Commission’s and member states’ action packages for securing Europe’s long-term energy supply.

“All told, this makes liquefied gas the best widely available alternative for heavy transport. What is needed now is gas-powered trucks that can compete with diesel in terms of performance and fuel consumption, and continued expansion of LNG infrastructure,” said Mårtensson.