Alternatives to Diesel

Alternatives to Diesel

In a world that rapidly changes, climate change regulatives slowly pushing out internal combustion engines that run on diesel, and on the roads we can see more and more alternatives to diesel vehicles, at least when we talk about cars, vans...

The European truck industry has commonly expressed the aim to refrain from using fossil fuels for their commercial vehicles as from 2040.

But when we talk about transport industry, diesel powered vehicles are still dominant. What will future bring to us we can't surely say, but for now we can see some alternatives out there.

Let's see some of the most common that we can see on the road.

1. Electric/Hybrid

1.1. Electric:

An electric truck is an electric vehicle powered by batteries designed to transport cargo, carry specialized payloads, or perform other utilitarian work.

Fully electric solutions also offer the transport sector an opportunity to play its part in helping to meet the challenges of global warming and local air quality.

When using green energy, electric trucks can also reduce your transport operations' CO2 footprint, as well as help you achieve your sustainability goals. In addition, electric powertrains are very quiet, which is ideal for evening or night-time deliveries.

1.2. Hybrid:

Hybrid Electric Vehicles combine the best of both worlds: fully electric in urban areas and clean diesel technology everywhere else.

Hybrid solutions also enable operators to meet ever-stricter emissions regulations. From 2025 onwards, several European cities will only allow zero-emission commercial vehicles in city centres. For heavy and medium-duty trucks that clock up most of their mileage outside of urban areas, hybrid technology is the perfect solution for this restriction. Fully electric driving ensures zero emissions in urban centres, while clean diesel technology offers maximum range and flexibility outside cities.

2. Gas (CNG, LNG, Hydrogen)

2.1. CNG:

- CNG is natural gas or biogas compressed to a high pressure and stored in tanks in the truck. When using compressed biogas, the CO2 emissions are reduced by up to 70%

2.2. LNG:

-LNG is natural gas or biogas that’s been liquefied by bringing it down to low temperature. When the gas liquefies, it reduces in volume that makes it possible to have enough fuel on board to drive long haul transports. Supported by the EU, the network of LNG filling stations is growing throughout Europe. This means LNG offers a huge potential as a substitute for diesel in trucks. LNG-powered trucks operating on fossil natural gas, reduce the CO2 emissions by 20%* compared to diesel. And when operating on biogas, the CO2 emissions are reduced by 100%

2.3. Hydrogen:

Hydrogen is certainly an option in the medium and long term for powering trucks. In fact, there are two different possibilities. In both cases, a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions can be realized if green hydrogen is applied.

• a fuel cell that uses hydrogen to generate electricity to power the electric motor

Hydrogen-powered trucks do have an appeal. Instead of being charged from an external source, they produce their own electricity on board – when the hydrogen stored in the vehicle comes into contact with an electrochemical cell. The only byproduct emitted is water vapour.

• or using hydrogen as a fuel for the combustion engine. 

Compared to the fuel cell hydrogen solution, the combustion engine option has transient capabilities (eliminating the need of a large energy storage system). Other advantages include the lower cooling capabilities needed and lower sensitivity to hydrogen purity.

3. Biodiesel:

Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable alternative fuel made from a mix of modified vegetable oils and diesel fuel.

Biodiesel is rarely used in its pure form. It's typically blended with diesel and designated by the amount of diesel it's mixed with.

There are many benefits of using biodiesel, even in its blended form, although some environmental benefits depend on how the fuel is produced. One benefit is simply the fact that the fuel comes from a renewable resource

One of the greatest concerns over using biodiesel fuel has been regarding its quality and long-term effects on diesel vehicles.

The other major concern is how fueling stations treat biodiesel compared to other fuels. Because it's made using vegetable-based products, it must be stored at the correct temperature. If it's left for too long in a warm storage tank, it can grow mold. Conversely, if it is stored at temperatures that are too cold, it could thicken and become difficult to dispense.


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