Diesel engine compatible with sustainable development
“Scania has halved the CO2-emissions from heavy trucks between 1970 and 2000. It is possible to have a similar transition again and at a faster pace, and with the diesel engine as the source of power.” This was stated by Hasse Johansson, Group Vice President Research and Development at Scania, at a seminar in the European Parliament regarding engine development and alternative fuels.
The improvements have been achieved by consistent development in combustion technology, rolling resistance, improved aerodynamics, weight savings and new regulations that allow higher weights.
The Union’s ambition is to reduce Europe’s dependency on fossil fuels. By 2010, the target is that biofuel should represent 6 percent of the fuel used by diesel and gasoline powered road vehicles.
Renewable fuels are an attractive alternative, but the availability of agricultural land makes it impossible to fully replace the fossil fuels.
“For heavy trucks the solution is to mix renewable and fossil fuels,” Hasse Johansson explained. “As a vehicle manufacturer, we recommend a blended fuel that is acceptable for all vehicles instead of pure fuels for dedicated vehicles. A mix of 5 percent RME in high-quality diesel should not be a problem to run in existing trucks and buses.”
According to Scania, biofuels can contribute with a 5 percent reduction of the CO2-emissions from heavy trucks and more efficient engines with a further 10 percent.
“It is far less costly to promote higher utilisation of load capacity, better education of drivers and to permit longer trucks. Such changes could further reduce CO2-emissions by no less than 25 percent,“ Hasse Johansson said.
Longer vehicle combinations reduce traffic
Today, the transport sector represents up to 10 per cent of the Union’s GDP and employs 10 million persons. According to the European Union, European road transport is predicted to increase by 30-40 percent up to the year 2010.
“By permitting the same concept as in Finland and Sweden with longer vehicles, 25.25 m, with up to 60 percent more cargo capacity, the number of heavy trucks on our roads could quickly be reduced by 30 percent on certain routes,” said Hasse Johansson.
The Commission’s ambition is to have alternative fuels representing 20 percent of the fuel used in 2020. Hydrogen and natural gas are therefore considered as substitutes for gasoline and diesel.
“Gas and hydrogen are not the solution for heavy road transport,” Hasse Johansson explained. “Due to lower energy content, bigger fuel tanks are needed, which will reduce payload and cargo volume. Natural gas is still a fossil fuel, and large quantities of hydrogen need to be produced in a sustainable way.”
Hasse Johansson underlined the importance of considering the overall CO2-emissions in society. Measures in the transport sector are often expensive and require capital investments. It is important to avoid sub-optimisation when choosing measures.
Scania’s head of Research and Development concluded his speech by pointing on the possibility to produce synthetic diesel for instance from biomass.
“For a sustainable development there is a need for more research on a substitute for fossil fuel. The optimal solution can be to make synthetic diesel, which has a high energy content, from natural or biogas gas.”
The theme for the seminar was Sustainable Road Transport – Advanced Engines and Fuel Alternatives. It gathered members of the newly elected European Parliament, top executives at the European Commission and experts from the industry and authorities.
For further information, please contact Urban Wästljung, tel. +46 70 537 1619.
Scania is one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks and buses for heavy transport applications, and of industrial and marine engines. With 29,100 employees and production facilities in Europe and Latin America, Scania is one of the most profitable companies in its sector. In 2003, turnover totalled SEK 50,500 million and the result after financial items was SEK 4,600 million. Scania products are marketed in about 100 countries worldwide and some 95 percent of Scania’s vehicles are sold outside Sweden.
[N04036EN] H-Å Danielsson