Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Volvo unveils green engines for trucks

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's Volvo, the world's second biggest truck maker, unveiled on Wednesday a line of truck engines adapted to run on renewable fuels and called for more efforts to make such fuels commercially available.

The engines are powered by seven types of fuel, ranging from synthetic diesel to a mix of hydrogen and biogas. These are made from renewable raw materials and do not add carbon dioxide to the ecosystem, the company said.

Rising emissions of carbon dioxide are widely thought to be a leading cause of climate change.

While none of the engines was being produced for the market, manufacturing could begin within a few years if the fuel was available, Volvo Chief Executive Leif Johansson said.

Johansson told a news conference that politicians and energy firms needed to do more to make sure renewable fuels were developed further and made more available to consumers.

"The message here today is that, had the fuels been available, we (Volvo vehicles) could have been carbon dioxide-free within just a few years," he said.

"We have significant problems finding commercially sensible volumes of fuel."

More efforts were needed to create European, or preferably global, standards for renewable fuels and to ensure their distribution, he said, adding that making green truck fuels widely available need not take a long time.

"We are not very far from there today," he said. "There have been two concerns from the fuel industry. One has been that there won't be any vehicles ready if they develop these fuels. We have tried to address that worry today."

But there also needed to be more public investment in research and development concerning new fuels, as well as in promoting them, he added.

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