Scania is working with haulage companies on developing the use of hydrogenated vegetable oil as an alternative to diesel in Euro 5 and Euro 6 class engines for reduced emissions.
In line with Scania’s philosophy that all alternative power sources should be explored, the company is now opening the way for the use of an additional alternative fuel: hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO). From a chemical point of view, the fuel is nearly identical to conventional diesel. But when used in diesel engines, it allows for an 85-percent reduction in CO2 output. While the cost of the fuel is somewhat higher than regular diesel, the service intervals required for engines using it are the same.
Scania’s first step is approving the use of HVO fuel in Euro 5-class trucks and buses for all types of operations and applications. In terms of Euro 6, field tests are first being undertaken in association with a number of selected, larger Swedish transport companies. These include waste and recycling company Renova and Götene Kyltransporter which has approximately 80 trucks operating in Sweden’s refrigerated transport market. A third transport company participating in the project is Kaj Inrikes, which transports goods for customers including IKEA Sweden.
“We have big hopes for HVO fuel” says Kaj Johansson, CEO for Kaj Inrikes. “We’re making a conscious effort to focus on both communications technology and environmental investments, and we’re convinced that taking a pioneering position within these areas will benefit our company and contribute to a better environment. For us, it’s only natural to want to develop and to explore new possibilities.”
Jonas Nordh, Head of Scania’s Nordic Region says there has been significant interest, particularly from large transport companies wanting to reduce their carbon dioxide output by participating in a field test to evaluate HVO as a fuel.
“The goal is to have about 100 Euro 6 trucks in service by the beginning of autumn, with a mix of both existing and newly delivered vehicles involved,” says Nordh.
So, how does a current owner of a Scania truck with a Euro 5 or Euro 6 engine know if their vehicle can fill up on HVO?
“There are no major obstacles but despite this, there are some important things to consider,” says Nordh. “Our recommendation is that customers always seek the advice of their Scania contact. There is, for example, a limit in terms of the chassis number and how old the vehicle can be in order to have the right type of gaskets in its fuel system.”
But the primary challenge for many transport companies in terms of day-to-day operation is the availability of the fuel on the market. In this respect, it is much easier to use ‘ordinary’ biofuel (FAME) and Scania offers Euro 6 engines for this purpose with power outputs ranging from 320 to 580 horsepower.
In practice, just about everyone can find a biodiesel engine that’s tailor-made to their application and type of operation. FAME-type biodiesel is still the only alternative that offers both lowered CO2 emissions and lower costs when used in a diesel engine.
“HVO is an interesting fuel that has been around for a number of years but has been hampered by the fact that both production and distribution has been limited,” says Nordh. “At Scania, we currently see HVO primarily as a complement to our gas engines and our FAME and RME biodiesel engines. We have also announced that we’re developing Euro 6 engines for ED95. If transport buyers and the automotive industry are to work together in the fight against CO2, then all avenues need to be explored.”