ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE FOR TRUCKS Volvo Trucks aims to commercialize vehicles fueled by dimethyl ether in 2015
Volvo Trucks has announced its plan to begin production of vehicles powered
by dimethyl ether (DME), a fuel that mirrors the performance qualities and energy
efficiency of diesel. It also burns clean without producing particulate matter.
BY CHAD ELMORE
Regional fleets and long-haul truck operators will have an additional alternative when it
comes to fuel beginning in 2015.
That’s when Volvo Trucks plans to
begin limited production of dimethyl
ether (DME)-powered heavy-duty
commercial vehicles in North America.
DME is already used as an aerosol
propellant in cosmetics and other con-
sumer products, including asthma inhal-
ers. As a fuel it mirrors the performance
of diesel and burns without producing
particulate matter. It can be made from
a variety of domestic sources including
pipeline natural gas as well as from
feedstock that would otherwise go to
waste, including biogas from discarded
food and animal offal, wastewater treat-
ment facilities and landfills — basically
any gas that contains methane. When
produced from biogas, Volvo Trucks
said DME could provide up to a 95%
CO2 reduction compared to diesel.