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Volvo Develops Multi-Fuel, High-Performance, Prototype Car That Runs on Five Different Fuels

July 10, 2006

IRVINE, CA – As part of its aim to find different ways to sustainable mobility, Volvo Car Corp. has developed a system for a multitude of fuels. The Volvo Multi-Fuel is a prototype car, optimized for running on five different fuel types; hythane, biomethane, natural gas, bioethanol E-85, and gasoline. Hythane consists of 10-percent hydrogen and 90-percent methane, a blend that has tested most effective for this system. The Volvo Multi-Fuel, a five-cylinder, 2.0L prototype car (200 bhp), was introduced at the Michelin Challenge Bibendum 2006, held June 8-12 in and around Paris. According to Mats Morén, project leader engine at Volvo Car Corp., said that the Multi-Fuel is just as safe as all Volvo vehicles, with the added bonus of being exceptionally clean. “One of its benefits is that combustion of pure renewable fuels — like hydrogen, biomethane, and bioethanol — gives negligible net contribution of fossil carbon dioxide. The main idea behind the Multi-Fuel is to make use of fuels produced locally.” The Multi-Fuel vehicle contains one large and two smaller tanks (totaling 98 liters) for gaseous fuels (hythane, biomethane, and CNG), and one 29L tank for liquid fuels (bioethanol, E-85, and gasoline). The small gaseous fuel tanks are made of steel, whereas the large tank has a durable, gas-tight aluminum liner, reinforced with high-performance carbon fiber composite and an exterior layer of hardened fiber-glass composite. The fuel tanks are fitted neatly under the luggage compartment floor, which means that full loading capacity is preserved. Two fuel fillers are used to fill up all five fuel types, one for gaseous and one for liquid fuels. The engine automatically adjusts itself to the right blend of gaseous or liquid fuels. To switch between fuel types, the driver simply presses a button.
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