Natural gas vehicles represent a potential stepping stone to a cleaner, greener transportation system, though many consumers are wary of a lack of CNG stations and less power. Volvo hopes to solve both with its latest CNG garbage truck, which uses a new kind of CNG engine developed specifically with urban driving and repeated stops and starts in mind.
The Volvo FE CNG garbage truck has an all-new, 9-liter (!!) engine pumping out 320 horsepower and 1,000 ft-lbs of torque that runs solely on CNG. At the core of the engine’s design is new spark plug technology developed specifically for the jerky stop-start driving cycles garbage trucks endure. By switching from diesel to CNG gas (or methane as its also called), Volvo says that carbon emissions are reduced by up to 70%. Even so, Volvo still sees CNG as a transitional fuel. Says, Lars Mårtensson, Environmental Director at Volvo Trucks;
Methane gas is the fuel that will become a sustainable alternative to diesel in the long term. Right now the focus is on working together with the various public authorities and private corporations to draw up the relevant rules and create the right preconditions for positive development.
Another potential benefit of CNG garbage trucks; the fuel can be sourced from local landfills, where decomposing waste releases methane, which can be collected, compressed, and pumped back into the trucks. The result is a self-sufficient supply chain where waste becomes fuel, something regular diesel trucks can only imagine.