Sector: LPG

Autogas goes heavy-duty in Australia

The future of LPG in Australia remains unclear since all major car manufacturers (Ford, Toyota and General Motors) decided to cease production in that country. However, a new collaboration hopes to breathe some life into the market.

If you visit regularly, you know the use of LPG autogas isn't restricted to passenger cars and light-duty vans. In fact, pretty much any machine (not even necessarily a vehicle) featuring a combustion engine can be converted to run on the gaseous fuel, including those fueled not by petrol, but by diesel. 100% fuel replacement isn't possible when it comes to oil-burners, but even blending offers results making the whole thing worthwhile. And since Australians are one of the pioneers of mixing diesel and autogas, we're actually surprised to receive so few pieces of news like this one you're reading right now.

A diesel-LPG truck participating in the test© auto-gas.netEveryone involved in the initiative seems happy with the result. And why shouldn't they be?

Unigas/Elgas (LPG provider), Prins Autogassystemen (autogas system), Rivet (truck operator) and CMV Truck & Bus (vehicle dealer) have joined forces to perform long-term (lasting 18 months, to be specific) field tests of diesel-gas trucks. Two vehicles were converted – a Kenworth T403 with a Cummins ISX15 engine and a Volvo FH with Volvo's own D13C unit. Both received Prins Dieselblend 2.1 LPG systems, adding autogas to diesel to improve combustion, thus reducing emissions and fuel costs. It is also possible to boost power and torque, but in this case the LPG systems were configured to preserve the original figures – 500 and 540 PS, respectively. And what about the benefits?

Over a distance of 200 thousand km, the vehicles saved 8000 Australian dollars (whether each or combined remains unclear), thus paying back the conversion costs. Each and every kilometre driven beyond that threshold means less money spent on fuel, which gives the fleet operator an edge over competitors using diesel-only vehicles. And as far as the trucks' environmental record is concerned, particulate matter emissions dropped by a significant 60%. CO2 output is also down, but just slightly – by 2%. The test was overseen and supported by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator authority to help establish the benchmark for future widespread adoption of diesel-blending technology across Australia. A compliance model will need to be developed, but the test's results clearly show it's a path worth exploring. Especially in this day and age, with emission-cutting perhaps even more important than reducing operational costs.


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Robert Markowski
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