New dual-fuel technology for heavy vehicles is on the cards in Australia after trials conducted by Unigas, Prins Autogassystemen and CMV Truck & Bus showed positive operational and environmental results over a two-year period.

Working closely with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, Unigas and its partners are now discussing steps for developing an Australian compliance model that will allow the industry to adopt the solution that involves installing a an engine system that runs on both diesel and LPG.

As part of the trial, CMV Truck & Bus installed the Prins Diesel Blend 2.1 technology in two Rivet trucks – a Kenworth T403 powered/Cummins ISX15 500Hp engine and Volvo/FH540Hp D13C Volvo engine.

During diesel blend operation, LPG substitutes diesel on an energy basis; however, unlike other proposed diesel substitutes, the system has the advantage of maintaining engine power and torque, while remaining within the engine’s designed operating performance.

However, the reduction in total operating costs is the big winner for the truck operator. Rigorous in-use testing of substitute rates and emissions were carried out by ABMARC, an independent engineering company, who used the first PEMs (Portable Emission Measurement System) in Australia to test both engine platforms.

Sampling of emissions, engine torque and fuel data was monitored and tested to validate the blend outcomes. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) played a significant role in enabling this trial program to progress and have continued to provide advice and permits for trial vehicles.

Trial results consistently showed 18 to 20 percent energy equivalent savings – an estimated saving of more than $8,000AUD in fuel, per 200,000kms. From an environmental standpoint, it showed 60% reduction in particulate matter and 2% Co2 reduction.

Both trucks are currently in service without any issue. In March this year, a third installation was carried out on CMV’s test fleet vehicle, which has been met with considerable interest from a number of its customers.

While still in the early stages, results show this technology has the potential to help the Australian heavy vehicle industry reduce emissions and operational costs, without compromising safety.