Volvo to field test trucks with new DME fueled engines

Late next year, Volvo will start field testing 14 trucks fueled with dimethyl ether, a biomass-derived fuel. DME is produced by gasification of biomass materials, with the syngas converted to a fuel through a catalytic process. The Volvo development program is being paid for in part by the Swedish Energy Agency and the European 7th framework program. DME evidently works well as fuel in diesel engines but offers much lower particulate and NOx emissions. There are however issues that need to be addressed. DME has poor lubricity compared to conventional diesel and is stored similar to liquified petroleum gas in low pressure storage tanks at about 5 BAR. The field tests are part of a European program that will also look at DME distribution and storage. The field testing in Sweden will occur over a three year period.


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