Green light for gassed-up VolvoSwedish truck manufacturer Volvo has revealed a new FE model that runs entirely on methane gas.

The company said the Volvo FE CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) has been primarily developed for operations involving short driving cycles with repeated stop/starts, such as refuse collection and local distribution, and is equipped with a new 320 bhp, 9-litre,

Euro 6 gas-powered engine that produces 1356 Nm of torque and features spark plug technology and automatic transmission.

“With the Volvo FE CNG, we can now offer companies that drive predominantly in urban environments a truck with a far lower environmental impact,” said Christina Eriksson, business manager alternative drivelines, Volvo Trucks. “Many cities are looking for alternatives to diesel-powered trucks. In the field of refuse handling, for example, renewable fuels are often a requirement for securing a contract.”

Methane gas is odourless when combusted and contains very low levels of harmful particles. If the methane is a biogas (ie, based on organic materials), emissions of CO2 are up to 70 per cent lower than those of a diesel truck.

Lars Mårtensson, environmental director at Volvo Trucks, said the company believes 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 conditions for positive development,” he said.

Sales of the new FE CNG will start in Europe in August, with series production getting under way in early 2015.