Volvo in Sweden has successfully tested using Bio-Dimethyl Ether (Bio-DME) in a small truck fleet.
Lars Mårtensson, environmental director at Volvo Trucks has said
We have shown that it’s possible to take an idea from the laboratory to full-scale operation and we have also successfully spread this knowledge all over the world. There is now a clear-cut interest from countries including China, Russia and the USA and they are markets with huge potential…”
…. According to the calculations, bio-DME could replace up to 50 per cent of the diesel that is currently being consumed by commercial vehicles in Europe within the next 20 years. We have a chance to make a fantastic contribution to help the environment…
Drivers have reported lower noise levels also possibly due to the higher centine rating of Bio-DME.
Volvo is manufacturing an engine specifically designed to run on Bio-DME
“…the advanced technology of our Volvo D13-DME engine offers diesel-like performance, reliability, and durability, and is equipped with a seamlessly integrated Volvo I-Shift transmission.”
Dimethyl ether is a manufactured, rather than naturally occurring alternative fuel. It is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless compound that can be produced from natural gas, or from CO2-neutral biomass. It is non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. Its molecular formula is C2OH6 and it behaves similar to propane. It is stored at ambient temperatures and can be stored and transported in tanks similar to those used in the propane industry.
DME produces no soot when burned and will not require a diesel particulate filter. It degrades rapidly in the atmosphere and is not a global warming agent.
|Lower Emissions||Up to 20% lower greenhouse gas
emissions than diesel
Improved reliability and efficiency over previous gas engines
lower total fuel costs
|Energy Security||Uses domestic fuel sources and
reduces reliance on oil
|Does not require Diesel Particulate Filter or Selective Catalytic Reduction to meet EPA 2010 emissions|
|Simplicity||Spark ignition is simpler overall than compression ignition|
|Lower Weight||Elimination of aftertreatment saves weight on chassis|
The testing standards group ASTM international has issued a new DME standard ASTM D7901 for use in engines designed or modified to use DME. This is a big step forward for wider acceptance of this fuel.
Mach Trucks was acquired by Volvo in 2000 and in 2017 began testing their DME fueled trucks with New York City’s Department of Sanitation.