North American-based units of Royal Dutch Shell plc and Volvo Trucks have agreed to “collaborate and coordinate” on liquefied natural gas (LNG) technology in heavy duty commercial vehicles.

Volvo said it plans to introduce an LNG engine next year, and the work with Shell is part of a strategy to collaborate with a number of stakeholders in the LNG transportation space. Volvo’s North American sales and marketing unit is heading the effort.

Goren Nyberg, president of Volvo Trucks North America, said the agreement is part of an effort “to ensure that the market is supported with the necessary infrastructure.”

Shell has been championing the expanded use of LNG in transportation — both land-based and maritime. Shell recently launched the first dedicated LNG barge in The Netherlands for transporting liquids products on the Rhine River, and it has touted North American plans to do the same (see Daily GPI, March 22).

Volvo officials described the Shell agreement as “global and nonexclusive,” covering issues such as fuel specifications and emissions performance. Using spark-ignited engines, Volvo plans to offer gas-powered versions of its VNM and VNL models for daycab trucks beginning this year.

The Volvo 13-liter LNG engine for North America was introduced last year. The new engine is an “advanced high pressure diesel ignition technology” that would create “significant” fuel efficiencies when compared with spark-ignited NGVs, making it applicable to the long-haul trucking sector.

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