“Available Alternatives to Diesel” by Lars Mårtensson


By replacing diesel with liquefied natural gas or biogas, CO emissions from heavy
trucks can be drastically reduced. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is today used primarily in industrial operations, but it has excellent prerequisites for being a competitive vehicle fuel with considerable environmental benefits. This is the opinion of Volvo Trucks, which is now intensifying its development of gas-powered trucks for heavy regional and longhaul operations.


Reducing climate-impacting emissions from heavy commercial traffic is a challenge that
engages politicians and transport purchasers, haulage companies and vehicle
manufacturers. In May the EU presented a regulation demanding declaration of CO2
figures from heavy vehicles as of 2019, with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions.

“Many of our customers and their customers already work hard to reduce their
environmental footprint. This regulation will drive the development of lower emissions,
where we see a clear possibility for increasing LNG market shares as a vital part of the
solution. 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,” says Lars Mårtensson, Director Environment and Innovation at
Volvo Trucks.

Natural gas is obviously a fossil fuel, but it can produce 20 per cent lower CO2
emissionsthan diesel. If biogas is used instead, the climate impact can be cut by up to 100 per cent.By using methane in liquid form (LNG – Liquefied Natural Gas) it is possible to carrylarger 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 in a global perspective. This is an important condition for largescale
expansion, as is a competitive price. 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 longterm energy supply.

“All told, this makes 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. In both cases major progress has been achieved,” says
Lars Mårtensson