The new Volvo FH LNG (pictured) and Volvo FM LNG will be available with 420bhp or 460bhp for heavy regional and long-haul operations.
Instead of the Otto cycle engine, the typical solution for gas-powered vehicles, the FH LNG and FM LNG are powered by gas engines with diesel cycle technology. This, says Volvo, means that operators who choose gas can do so without compromising on driveability, fuel efficiency or reliability.
The 460bhp gas engine delivers maximum torque of 2300Nm while the 420bhp version produces 2100Nm – the same as Volvo’s equivalent diesel engines. Fuel consumption is said to be on a par with Volvo’s diesel engines, but 15-25% lower than for conventional gas engines.
The fuel used is natural gas in the form of LNG (liquefied natural gas) or biogas, known as bio-LNG. Both fuels consist of methane. If biogas is used, tank-to-wheel emissions can be cut by 100%, and by 20% with LNG.
To maximise range, the tanks are filled with LNG, which is stored at 4-10 bar pressure at a temperature of -140 to -125 °C. The biggest fuel tank variant contains enough LNG for a range of up to 1000 km. Volvo says refuelling time is on a par with diesel.
When driving, the fuel is warmed up, pressurised and converted into a gas before it is injected into the engine. To ignite the gas, a small quantity of diesel is added at the moment of injection.
For a 100% reduction of CO2 emissions, fossil diesel has to be replaced with HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oils) and combined with bio-LNG.
Volvo Trucks is now working with gas suppliers and customers to expand the LNG infrastructure in Europe. This development is also being supported politically in many countries and by the EU.
“Natural gas offers clear climate upsides, it is competitively priced in many countries, and there are sufficient reserves to justify large-scale use,” says Lars Mårtensson, director of environment and innovation for Volvo Trucks.