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Volvo Trucks Planning 13-Liter LNG Engine

5/18/2012 1:45:00 PM
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MIAMI — Volvo Trucks plans to introduce a new 13-liter liquefied natural gas engine for its North American over-the-road customers in 2014, the latest development in the fast-growing move to natural gas products, company officials said Friday.

Volvo Group CEO Olof Persson made the announcement during a series of events and press conferences held here as part of the company’s festivities surrounding the Volvo Ocean Race, the around-the-world sailboat contest that is making its only North American stop here this weekend.

Persson said the new LNG engine — which Volvo is developing in conjunction with Westport Innovations — will be a diesel injection model, meaning it will use a small amount of diesel to allow combustion to occur through compression, similar to the way existing diesel engines work.

Currently, the only LNG engine Volvo offers is the 9-liter model produced by a partnership of Cummins Inc. and Vancouver, B.C.-based Westport Innovations, a spark-ignited engine. The company also intends to offer a 12-liter spark-ignited model that Cummins has under development.

Volvo also offers compressed natural gas engines for various applications around the world, but he said that fuel is not workable for long-haul trucking, and that the LNG model under development would offer a 30% fuel efficiency gain over CNG.

Persson said LNG has “great potential� as a fuel for long-haul trucking, but that Volvo was also working on other technologies that might be easier to use. In the end, he said, it’s up to Volvo’s customers to tell it what kind of fuels they’d like to burn.

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Emil Estafanous, CPA, CFF, CGMA