Driving alongside the towering rocky hills and a Spanish vineyard, we arrived at the unveiling of the Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Volvo Truck. LNG is predominantly used for industrial operations, but Volvo have modified their diesel engine technology to adapt to use LNG. The aim is to reduce CO2 by 20% and pave the way to more energy efficient technology.
Even though LNG is another fossil fuel, Volvo said that it will be a lot more effective than the other options available. With 72% of the European market being regional and long haul, if they all switched to LNG, the CO2 reduction would be substantial.
One of the key points was that the word gas makes people think of explosions and danger. Volvo have said that LNG is one of the safest fuels. They carried out a bonfire test where they put a LNG tank on a large fire, but the fuel didn’t explode.
LNG evaporates quite quickly when spilled. However, because it is under -1400C, it is very dangerous if it gets on your skin. There is a set of safety requirements that vary from country to country but usually include a pair of safety gloves, a face shield and a hard hat.
There are two main points to consider when talking about how LNG is a profit for a business. 1) LNG is more fuel efficient than diesel. 1kg of LNG gives out the same amount of energy as 1.39 litres.
2) The cost of using LNG. On average, throughout Europe, the cost of diesel is about €0.92 per litre whereas LNG is about €0.55 per litre. Certain countries are also making changes to promote the use of LNG. Germany have decided that there will be lower tax for LNG fuel. Finland have agreed that trucks using LNG will be allowed to carry 1 ton more goods.
There are three size fuel tanks available. The LGAS115 will cover up to 314 miles, the LGAS155 will reach up to 466 miles, and the LGAS205 will go up to 621 miles. Volvo have also added a return to fuel tank system so that any unused fuel is recycled which increases the efficiency even more.
We had the chance to drive the FH 460, 4x2T and the FM 460, 6x2T (pusher), Right Hand Drive. Even though it felt like it needed a bit more push to get up the inclines it was a very smooth ride and a pleasure to drive. It was a lot quieter than we was expecting it to be and the truck cornered very well and the steering wheel was very easy to turn.
The LNG trucks will be getting released in spring 2018 and are worth looking out for. They are a good choice for the environment and Volvo are working towards better options. There are more LNG fuel stations being made throughout Europe which will make the fuel more accessible.