DOE, Sweden, Volvo Group Sign $48 Million Pact for 'Cleaner, Greener' Trucks

Alexander Karsner, the U.S. Department of Energy's assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and Volvo Group CEO Leif Johansson agreed this week to expand cooperation to develop more fuel-efficient trucks. Once contractual negotiations are complete later this year, the cooperative program will be extended for three more years. Per Monday's agreement, an additional $9 million over three years in DOE funds will be matched by $9 million in Swedish government funds and $18 million from Volvo Group. When added with the existing $12 million commitment from the United States, Sweden, and the Volvo Group, the overall value of the cooperation will be $48 million.

"Our continued cooperation with the Swedish government and Volvo Group and Mack Trucks Inc. will yield cleaner, greener trucks," Karsner said. "The clean-vehicle technology developed under this international public-private partnership will further the Bush Administration's goals of ending our addiction to oil and confronting the serious challenge of global climate change."

The cooperative partnership's overall objective is to demonstrate heavy duty engine systems with at least 10 percent higher fuel-efficiency than conventional diesel engines. In addition, the program will:

  • Test and analyze the impact of different bio-fuels on diesel engines in an effort to increase efficiency and fuel economy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions of new long haul trucks;
  • Develop a new 'narrow-band' engine and advanced transmission system to minimize the detrimental affects of transient operation on fuel economy and emissions; and
  • Develop hybrid vehicle technology for heavy-duty engines coupled with waste heat recovery to maximize efficiency.

"The Volvo Group is a major player in the North American truck market with key facilities for research, development and manufacturing on U.S. soil," Johansson said. "The climate issue and increasing fuel prices make energy use and energy efficiency some of the most important societal issues of our time. The transportation industry has a special responsibility and this research and development co-operation with the U.S. government is crucial in our efforts to develop the drivetrains and technology required by both our customers and society as a whole."

Karsner and Swedish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Enterprise and Energy Maud Olofsson signed an implementing agreement in June 2007 to further expand cooperation on renewable energy and vehicle technologies. The agreement was designed to focus cooperation on biomass production, transportation and automotive research, reducing the cost of renewable energy, and improving energy efficiency. It also established a bilateral working group to explore prospective projects.

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