Volvo Trucks next year will be the first truck manufacturer to begin conducting comprehensive field tests involving Bio-DME, a biofuel that generates very low carbon dioxide emissions.
According to Volvo, Bio-DME in the long term it has the potential to replace 50 percent of diesel currently being used for transportation operations in Europe.
The field test is being done through a broad-based joint project involving, among others, the European Union, the Swedish Energy Agency, fuel companies and the transportation industry. The aim is to assess the potential of DME (Di-Methyl-Ether) as a vehicle fuel.
DME that is produced from biomass, known as Bio-DME, has both high energy efficiency and low greenhouse gas emissions all the way from the source to the wheel, according to Volvo Trucks.
The raw material used is black liquor, an energy-rich, highly viscous by-product of the pulp industry. With Bio-DME instead of diesel as a fuel, carbon dioxide emissions are cut by 95 percent.
Volvo Trucks is participating in the project by contributing 14 Volvo FH trucks that will be tested by selected customers at four locations in different parts of Sweden between 2010 and 2012. Fuel company Preem will build filling stations so the trucks can be used in regular regional and local operations. The first field-test truck was unveiled Sept. 18 in Piteå, where the production of Bio-DME will take place.