June 9, 2013 – Vol.18 No.13
Volvo to offer dimethyl ether-fueled trucks in North America. Oberon Fuels will deliver the first new alternative fuel in decades.
It can be made from bio-feedstocks or natural gas.
It's non-toxic and non-carcinogenic.
There's no soot, no black carbon emissions.
When made from renewable biomass or biogas, CO2 emissions are up to 95 percent less than conventional diesel.
It handles and stores similar to propane; refueling and on-board storage is the same.
Diesel engines need little modification to run on DME.
The price of DME is expected to be more stable than diesel.
And chances are you've already used it: It's a propellant in many aerosol cans.
Volvo Trucks of North America has announced that it will launch DME-fueled heavy duty trucks in the North American market by 2015. Volvo is the first North American manufacturer to announce plans to utilize a new, clean-burning alternative fuel.
Volvo's DME technology will be available in a Volvo D13 engine, the top-selling heavy-duty engine in the world. The DME-powered vehicles will join a line-up that already includes models that can be specified to run on compressed or liquefied natural gas.
The trucks will need fuel and Oberon Fuels is ready to deliver. The company is developing modular, skid-mounted production units that can convert various feedstocks into DME. The units are small enough to be installed near the sources of feedstock: Instead of bringing the biomass waste or natural gas to the DME processor, the processor is brought to the source of the feedstock supply.
President of Oberon Fuels Rebecca Boudreaux, Ph.D., says. “DME is an excellent alternative fuel because it is a cost-effective diesel replacement that also has the potential to substantially reduce the carbon footprint of heavy- duty transportation. The Oberon process utilizes two greenhouse gases – methane and carbon dioxide – and converts them to a clean-burning fuel, DME. This is a monumental step forward for the transportation sector and the environment.”
On-site DME processing could monetize waste CO2 and methane from commercial, industrial and power plant operations.
The question is this: If DME is so much like propane, can it fuel cars, homes and businesses as propane does now?
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