The new Volvo FM LNG is a gas-powered truck with a powertrain based on Volvo's conventional diesel engine technology. However, by replacing its 460hp engine with liquefied natural gas or biogas CO2 emissions can be reduced significantly when compared to a regular Volvo FM truck whilst dramatically reducing other dangerous particulates like NOx and SOx.
LNG is created by cooling this natural gas to a temperature of around -162°C when the gas liquefies and reduces in volume to a colourless, odourless liquid fuel. This quality ensures LNG is easy to store and makes it ideally suited to fuel regional and long-haul HGVs.
In liquid form, it is possible to carry larger quantities of fuel and thus ensure the necessary operating range for long-haul transportation. However, because both natural gas and biogas consist largely of methane - a potent greenhouse gas - it is particularly important to minimise the risk of gas leakage during transport, refuelling and operation of the vehicle.
Furthermore, the new FM LNG is far quieter than a conventional FM that burns diesel in the combustion engine, so it can operate for longer in areas where noise restrictions might apply. This is often an issue when HGVs need to deliver to supermarkets located near residential areas, or city centres that impose regulations on traffic and noise levels.
Martin Tomlinson, Head of Product Demonstration at Volvo Group Trucks, explains: "LNG is the fuel that is best positioned to quickly become a competitive and globally available alternative to diesel. The development of our new FM LNG truck is the result of our commitment to transportation that is sustainable in the long term, through energy-efficient, competitive and future-proof solutions with a low climate and environmental impact."
John Comer, Head of Product Management at Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland says, "All told, liquefied gas is the best widely available climate alternative on the market for long and heavy transportation and Volvo's new gas-powered trucks can compete with diesel both in terms of performance and fuel consumption."
He adds, "What is needed now is the continued expansion of the LNG infrastructure and specialised filling points like the Calor site in Leicestershire are amongst many that are being planned to satisfy the potential increase in demand in the coming years."
Mark Gilks, Transport Specialist at Calor, adds: "The benefits of LNG for HGVs are clear. With leading truck manufacturers like Volvo Trucks predicting that natural gas-powered vehicles could account for 20 per cent of all HGVs sold by the early 2020s, the future opportunities for LNG are really exciting."
Mark goes on to say, "For long-haul HGVs, LNG is a low carbon, competitively-priced fuel solution with good availability and our publicly accessible LNG refuelling network is the largest in the UK. As well as Donington, we operate stations in Lockerbie, Castleford in West Yorkshire, Lymm in Warrington, Grantham, Wolverhampton and Bristol. With plans to expand this network even further, we are committed to helping the industry towards a more sustainable future."