Volvo Trucks broadens its range for alternative fuels in North America

Volvo Trucks now takes yet another important step forward with vehicles running on alternative fuels. Within a couple of years, trucks running on DME – an energy-efficient fuel with low environmental impact – will be introduced in the North American market.

"It's clear that DME technology shows great potential for North America and allows Volvo to further its commitment to both our customers and the environment," says Göran Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North American Sales and Marketing.

There are two things above all others that make DME highly interesting as a vehicle fuel. First, it is energy efficient. Secondly, emissions of air pollutants are extremely low. It is currently produced and used all over the world, but for other purposes than as a fuel for vehicles. What is more, DME can be produced from both fossil energy sources and from renewable sources (biomass).

Behind Volvo Trucks' decision to start commercial production of DME trucks in the USA lies many years of development work, cooperation with scientists and fuel producers and excellent results from field tests in Sweden and North America.

"With high energy-efficiency and good environmental properties, DME is one of the most promising alternatives to today's diesel fuel. By offering trucks running on DME we also hope to hasten the expansion of DME production and distribution - essential in order to establish a presence on other markets too," says Lars Mårtensson, director Environmental Affairs at Volvo Trucks.

Volvo's DME technology in the USA will be available in a Volvo VNL powered by a D13 engine.

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June 7, 2013


  • DME (dimethyl ether) can be made either from fossil energy such as natural gas or from biologically renewable raw materials such as forestry industry waste. DME is currently produced all over the world, but is used for other purposes than as fuel for vehicles. Today the most common use of DME is for domestic use, such as a propellant in spray-cans and as a fuel for cookers and ovens.
  • DME from bio-renewable raw materials (biomass) is known as bio-DME. Irrespective of the source material, DME provides a high degree of energy and low emissions of particulates. What is more, bio-DME gives up to 95 per cent lower climate impact than conventional diesel fuel. DME is a gas at room temperature and normal pressure but becomes a liquid at low pressure (5 bar or 72.5 psi), which facilitates handling and transport.
  • Volvo Trucks has worked with DME since the early 1990s. In cooperation with customers, fuel producers and distributors the company has conducted field tests with DME in Sweden and the USA. In Sweden ten such trucks have been in regular operation since 2011, in a project partly financed by the Swedish Energy Agency and the European Union. These trucks have now covered more than 1,000,000 km. In the USA, the tests began in early 2013. Both field tests are still on-going.
  • The development of DME trucks is part of Volvo Trucks' long-term strategy of conducting research into alternative fuels. Volvo Trucks' work with vehicles running on alternative fuels and alternative drivelines also encompasses methane gas and bio-based synthetic diesel as well as electric hybrids.

For further information, please contact: Lennart Pilskog, Director Public Affairs at Volvo Trucks, Phone: +46 31 664926, e-mail: Lennart.Pilskog@volvo.com

Göran Nyberg, president Volvo Trucks North American Sales & Marketing image/pjpeg 304 KB
Lars Mårtensson, director Environmental Affairs at Volvo Trucks image/pjpeg 205.1 KB
Volvo FH with DME engine. image/pjpeg 308.1 KB
Volvo VNL day-cab with DME engine. image/pjpeg 3.5 MB

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