As announced last May, Volvo Trucks plans to introduce in 2014 an over-the-highway truck engine in North America that will be fueled by natural gas,” states Ed Saxman, product manager–alternative fuel products.

“We are developing an engine that will burn LNG using the compression-ignition process [instead of spark ignition],” he continues. “This engine will have the fuel efficiency and the durability of today’s diesel engines.”

According to Saxman, Volvo is actually “exploring several directions at the same time” regarding NG engines.

“We already have made available the Cummins Westport ISL and ISX G engines, which use the spark-ignition process, in our VNM and VNL daycabs, respectively,” he notes.

“On the other hand,” he continues, “Volvo Trucks is already the maker of more diesel engines over 10L than all other manufacturers. Still, 2013 will continue to be a year of development where we will continue to learn which NG fuels make the best sense for each application. Clearly, there’s a lot to learn.”

Saxman adds that the truck and engine builder is also very engaged with another alternative fuel—dimethyl ether (DME). “DME supports compression ignition with a cetane rating of up to 60,” he continues, “and it burns with a blue flame with no soot or DPF. It handles like propane, meaning neither heavy high-pressure fuel tanks nor insulated cryogenic fuel tanks are necessary.”