Italian heavy duty vehicle manufacturer Iveco is working with SMET, a European logistics company, to trial the integration of two different green solutions, with an 18-metre-long Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)-powered Iveco Stralis. In its press release Iveco states the results exceeded expectations: the 18-metre/LNG solution delivered significant advantages compared with the traditional diesel solution, both in terms of the total cost of ownership (TCO) and environmental impact.
Working in conjunction with SMET, Iveco carried out field tests on real missions to evaluate the reduction in the average cost per unit for goods transported. Together, the two companies tested the compatibility of 18-metre-long articulated trucks on the road infrastructure and their parking manoeuvrability; the trial also highlighted the reduction in fuel consumption per unit for transported goods and, consequently, in CO2 emissions.
Authorised in July 2008 by the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, Progetto DICIOTTO (tr. Project Eighteen) was launched by ANFIA (Italian Automotive Industry Association) in Italy to test the impact on transport efficiency of increasing the length of articulated trucks to 18 metres from the current standard length of 16.5 metres.
Lengthening semi-trailers by around 1.5 metres is the only planned variation from standard vehicles; all the other basic specifications remain unchanged, from axle loads to manoeuvrability under current legislation. The results achieved by Progetto DICIOTTO in Italy have improved transport efficiency by almost 10% on trial vehicles.
Similar experiments are also underway in other European countries: in Germany, with 300 vehicles in circulation, in the UK with 1800 trucks in service and in the Czech Republic.
There are many advantages to using a natural gas vehicle, both in terms of environmental sustainability and profitability for customers. In terms of emissions, natural gas engines are more environmentally friendly than their diesel Euro VI counterparts. Natural gas is a much cleaner fuel in terms of its minimal particulate emissions (-95% compared to diesel) and NOx emissions (-35%). Furthermore, these vehicles make it possible to reduce vehicle CO2 emissions from 10% up to 100% if using biomethane. Lastly, it ensures a quieter vehicle with an average decrease of 5 decibels in comparison to its diesel brother, making it perfect for waste collection operations and night-time distribution.
From the standpoint of economic sustainability, these vehicles generate Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) savings of up to 10%. Natural gas is also markedly less expensive than diesel, and it enables fuel costs to be reduced by up to 40%.