The price of diesel goes up a little bit and immediately LNG and all that gas comes back into the reckoning. The margins in road transport are so slim, only a small incremental change can tip the balance between fuel options.
Here we have Volvo talking about its LNG 13 litre engine developing comparable power and performance to the diesel version, while offering carbon emission savings.
While carbon emission reduction is a major talking point in Europe, it is barely on the horizon here in Australia. The apparent impasse in Canberra in developing any kind of viable carbon reduction scheme, means truck operators here are not looking to reduce carbon emissions to reduce costs.
However, this is not stopping some operators from having a go. Currently, there are two trucks, a Kenworth T403 and a Volvo FH540, working in a major resources hauling fleet with a bespoke gas and diesel mix system researching the cost, carbon and particulates reduction implications.
The only driver for reduced carbon engines is the corporate decisions made by some of the multinational giants operating here to reduce their carbon emissions globally, including Australia. We will not expect any major changes in the economics around reduced carbon footprint until a clear policy framework evolves.
Another driver for change in Europe and North America is the production of methane gas from renewable sources, biogas. This has the ability to drastically cut carbon emissions up to 100 per cent.
In the US the next round of emissions control are all about carbon footprint reduction. There are also even stronger restrictions in areas around the Ports of LosAngeles and Long Beach, incentivising transport businesses to look at alternatives like electric and LNG power. As a result engines like this Cummins Westport 12 litre are being trialled in many fleets: