Volvo, ATA Identify Challenges to DME Industry
Susan Alt by Jonathan S. ReiskinSAN DIEGO — Two representatives of trucking told the dimethyl ether industry meeting here that while the fuel has a number of desirable qualities, the jury is still out on its viability as a transportation fuel.
The International DME Association heard from Volvo Group, which endorses the fuel, and from an American Trucking Associations attorney who said the fuel has “a steep hill to climb” in order to gain acceptance.
Volvo, the parent company of Volvo and Mack trucks, began a serious study in 2007 of seven alternatives to diesel, “and DME came out on top,” said Susan Alt, a senior vice president for the original equipment manufacturer.
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Volvo prefers DME — a molecule made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen — to natural gas in the long-term because DME has many properties similar to diesel and because it’s easier to transport. Alt spoke at the DME meeting on Oct. 7.
Joining her was ATA’s Glen Kedzie, who works on environmental and energy issues for the federation. Kedzie said truck operators are “finicky” and demanding and will not switch on a casual basis. He said DME is in its infancy and noted the Department of Energy does not list it as a fuel of any significance through 2040.
Kedzie said choosing a fuel has profound ramifications for a fleet, as it affects vehicles, engines, technician training and purchasing networks.
The DME Conference took place here as ATA's Management Conference & Exhibition was coming to a close.
|By Jonathan S. Reiskin|
Asociate News Editor
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