The fuel, which contains more energy than diesel and can therefore be used more sparingly, increasing vehicle range, will be the subject of expended development within an agreement between Volvo Trucks and Shell.
Natural gas is already used to power buses and smaller commercial vehicles, but is not viable for long-haul service because of the increased volumes that need to be stored. Liquefaction solves the problem, allowing increased energy to be stored in fuel tanks no larger than standard.
Volvo has already developed a combustion system concept called MethaneDiesel that can run on LNG. It was first fitted to a Volvo FM tractor unit for testing and demonstration purposes, but identical units can now be ordered in Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK.
Shell is to contribute LNG refinement expertise and its infrastructure investments, which will allow it to distribute and store LNG in a great deal of locations.
Lennart Pilskog, Director of Public Affairs at Volvo Trucks said: “Shell is a key player in this market and we are one of the leading truck manufacturers, with an energy-efficient gas truck already available on the market.
“Together we believe that we can enhance and speed up the introduction of LNG to the transport business, both through own activities and by inspiring others.”
He continued: “We see considerable potential for our gas truck and will continue the roll-out in more markets along with the development of our production capacity and gas infrastructure.
“Using liquefied natural gas in a diesel engine is very energy-efficient. It is a new fuel option that could dominate for heavy duty vehicles for the foreseeable future.”