Scania Transport Laboratory goes fossil free

Scania Transport Laboratory goes fossil free

Scania’s inhouse haulier is showing the way towards emission-free logistics.

The shift towards fossil-free transport is both necessary and possible – here and now. Scania is taking the lead by offering the broadest vehicle range of alternatives to fossil fuels.

However, it’s also practising what it preaches. In its own short and long distance transport operations, Scania is now demonstrating to all the opportunities for immediate carbon emission reductions by more than 95 percent.

Mirroring customer operations; reducing fuel consumption

These internal transports are carried out by Scania´s inhouse haulier, Scania Transportlaboratorium, which was founded in 2008 as an extension of Research and Development for on-the-road experience that mirrors actual customer operations.

Every day, the haulier operates 14 truck and trailer combinations between the manufacturing plants in Södertälje, Sweden, and Zwolle in the Netherlands; each truck is driven for approximately 400,000 kilometres a year. That corresponds to three times a normal operational deployment, enabling Scania to rapidly assess product quality and performance.

In these operations from 2008 to 2018, Scania has gradually reduced fuel consumption to 23.9 litres per 100 kilometres, through introducing a series of efficiency enhancements. Initially, the focus was on optimised specifications, followed by dedicated driver training schemes.

From the start of operations, speeds were set at 80 kilometres an hour, which in itself reduces fuel consumption by ten percent with the added benefits of lower repair and maintenance costs, and a reduced risk of accidents.  Two years later, boat-tails were added to trailers, and then tractors with double trailers were introduced, for a total length of 32 metres.

Reducing carbon emissions by nearly half

The haulier comprises a total of 45 trucks and coaches, of which 14 are tractors for long distance transport between Sweden and the Netherlands. The remaining trucks are deployed in short distance transports, primarily between production units in Södertälje. Additionally, the transport lab is responsible for five staff coaches between Stockholm and Södertälje.

Initially, the carbon footprint generated by these transports was 65 grams per ton-kilometre, which by October 2018 had been reduced to 9,4 grams per ton-kilometre. This reduction was mainly achieved through lower fuel consumption, but operating ethanol, gas and hybrid trucks on local routes also contributed.

A strategic switch to HVO

Earlier this year, the transport lab took a strategic decision to exclusively operate on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) a near-zero carbon alternative to diesel available in Sweden. HVO now accounts for more than 90 percent of the laboratory’s annual fuel usage of approximately 1.6 million litres.

“On the trips to and from Zwolle we’re running close to empty tanks, but our drivers are trained to economise on fuel as much as possible on the 1,500-kilometre journey,” says Jan Björkund, Managing Director of Scania Transportlaboratorium.

Since the laboratory feeds back invaluable operational data to Scania’s R&D, it is keen to put the latest vehicles to the test. Because of that the fleet now also includes a liquefied biogas tractor unit, as well as Scania’s latest generation compressed biogas, ethanol-powered and hybrid trucks.