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Volvo to commercialize renewable fuel for trucks

Volvo Trucks plans to utilize a new, clean-burning alternative fuel to power its heavy-duty trucks.

Volvo Trucks plans to utilize a new, clean-burning alternative fuel to power its heavy-duty trucks.

Dimethyl ether (DME) is a non-toxic, non-carcinogenic fuel that can be made from a variety of domestic, sustainable feedstocks and is currently used as a propellant in many household and cosmetic products.

Volvo invested in the DME technology for the North American market because of the numerous benefits DME offers as an alternative to diesel fuel. DME mirrors the performance qualities and energy efficiency of diesel while also delivering a number of excellent environmental properties – including the fact that it produces no soot. The company plans to commercialize DME-powered vehicles in 2015.

DME can be made from a variety of organic sources, including biogas from food and animal waste, wastewater treatment facilities and landfills. When produced from biomass or biogas, DME can reduce CO2 by up to 95 percent compared to diesel.

DME can also be produced from North America’s abundant supply of natural gas, and therefore has the potential to significantly reduce energy dependency. Converting natural gas to DME is an innovative way to address many of the distribution, storage and fueling challenges otherwise presented by natural gas as a heavy truck fuel.