The Volvo Heavy Truck Gas Turbine VT300 2005-01-3504
Renewed interest in a gas turbine as an alternative driveline for heavy trucks within Volvo, driven by the demands for lower emissions, resulted in a pre-study during 1990-1992 and the development and testing of a demonstrator engine between 1993 and 2000. To achieve the demanding goals for efficiency and emissions, the engine was designed as a recuperated and intercooled two shaft powerplant with a low-emission combustor.
Following a comprehensive aerodynamic and concept study, engine components were rig tested and the engine mechanical design was finalized. Two engines were built and tested in a rig and in a truck. Very low exhaust emissions were demonstrated during rig testing, with NOx as low as 0,22 g/kWh in a 13-mode test. The efficiency goal of 42 % was not reached, but given more development time the measured efficiency of 38,6 % can most certainly be improved. Still, it will be the fuel consumption that is the major disadvantage compared to a diesel engine.
The engine was also installed in a Volvo FH12 truck and tested for a limited time.
The pros and cons of the gas turbines for trucks are discussed with some emphasis on emissions and fuel availability. Some areas where efforts must be made to improve the gas turbine are described and some suggestions of how to do it are given.