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A combined gas and diesel engine that respects the environment: a technological marvel

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The impressive American truck attracts attention. With its characteristic forms and chrome steel, it does not go unnoticed on Swiss roads. But the advantages of the Kenworth are not limited to appearance, they are also technological: the engine combines the conventional technique of diesel with a drive gas, more environmentally friendly.

diesel and gas trucks
Josef Wespe turned an American truck for between-taking Kompogas Schmid AG: this truck rolls to 80% biogas - the remaining needs are covered by diesel. (CH-Forschung)

"An American model is ideal for us who like to attract attention by showing that we drive with friendly energy environment," says Walter Schmid Kompogas AG in Glattbrugg.

The Kenworth truck is equipped with a Caterpillar engine with a power of 414 CV and work, either with two fuels: diesel, gas or a mixture of both. Diesel is mainly used to heat the engine; when running at full speed, the gas share is 90%, while it is 80% on average. The proportion of gas is constantly adapted to the power output requirements. The reservoir consists of eight steel gas cylinders with a total capacity of 950 liters (150 kilos of gas). When gas reserves are exhausted, the engine automatically switches to diesel.

A tedious procedure

There are about 3 years, Walter Schmid was interested in the Dual-Fuel technology, so widespread in the United States. His dream of a "bivalent American model" has become reality thanks importer of commercial vehicles, Josef Wespe, Altstätten. He imported the Kenworth and has incorporated a bivalent engine approved in Switzerland. "The approval process was tedious and lasted almost a year," says Wespe.

But patience has paid off: the Dual-Fuel now meets the requirements of European expertise deviation. Josef Wespe, which is also called Mr. Diesel, developed the bivalent drive mechanism in collaboration with engineers and suppliers from the USA and Canada. The project has received financial support from the Research Fund of the Swiss gas industry.

Fuel produced from plant waste

Schmid AG, active in the field of construction, also operates Kompogas facilities, which, from a proper reprocessing of waste mis-agers and gardens, produce biogas that can be used as fuel, like natural gas.

This truck is powered by vegetable waste it collects itself. 250 kilos of organic waste permit him to travel 100 kilometers. An advantage of this fuel: it is neutral in terms of CO2. "Vehicles running on Kompogas do not release more carbon dioxide into the environment if these de-waste were composted," says Schmid. Regarding other releases, this truck has a good balance: it emits 92% of nitrogen oxides and 76% less carbon monoxide less than required by the new standard Euro 3 for diesel trucks. Hydrocarbon emissions fall even 97% and particulate 87% below this limit value.

The conversion of a diesel engine in a dual fuel engine costs 105 000 francs (about 60 000 euros) but the savings are then performed at the fuel costs: compared to diesel, natural gas saves 3 francs ( 1.8 euros) 100 kilometers.

The Kompogas being exempt from tax on mineral oils, this natural fuel is still cheaper than natural gas: the price is 40% lower than gasoline or diesel. "Our truck is amortized after traveling 250 000 kilometers" calculated Mr Schmid. This experience is so conclusive that the company has planned the purchase of a second vehicle of this type. The McDonalds chain has also commissioned a truck as environmentally friendly.

Meanwhile, Mr. Josef Wespe has already begun on a new project with a friend, who operates a coffee plantation, it is planning a plant in Guatemala Kompogas to use large amounts of vegetable waste from the production of coffee. And may soon do we see a dual fuel truck roll to Kompogas on the roads of Guatemala ...

Source: Christine Sidler for CH Forschung

More: diesel engine running on gas


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