Truck drivers could save themselves a minimum of 15% and up to 25% in fuel costs by switching to a proven combination of diesel and liquid propane gas (LPG).
FuelSave Australia , in conjunction with Diesel/Gas Australia (DGA), is supplying a bolt-on vehicle conversion system that can be fitted to a truck in one-to-two days time, and can recover its investment within seven months, depending on the truck mileage.
The long-known benefits of mixing diesel with LPG have become highly relevant at a time of soaring diesel prices when truckies have been holding go-slow protests in Australian capital cities.
Fuel prices rises are even forcing many owner-drivers and small operators to consider getting out of the trucking business.
“With truckies having to bear the brunt of a 50 cents a litre rise in the price of diesel in less than a year, the proven cost savings of adding LPG to the fuel mix mean that vehicle conversions make perfect economic sense,” said David Redfern, CEO of FuelSave Australia.
“Major transport operators can pass on rising fuel costs to customers, but owner-drivers may find themselves paying thousands more for their diesel fuel every month, having to absorb these price hikes out of their own pocket.
“The Truck Industry Council has forecast that intercity and urban freight movements in Australia will continue to soar over the next decade, so a solution to rising diesel fuel costs has become urgent. The development of dual fuel technology is a timely response,” he said.
Diesel/Gas Australia designed and tested its LPG injection system especially for diesel powered vehicles. The first two prototype systems were fitted to normally aspirated and turbo vehicles in July 2004 and sales soon followed, with over 2500 units currently installed both in Australia and overseas.
“Mechanical LPG systems have been in use for decades. Our technology has been in development since the late 1990s and has been constantly refined with modern electronic controls, very similar to injection control units used in cars,” David Redfern said.
“The injection of a small quantity of LPG vapour into the diesel combustion process creates a simultaneous burn. Modern electronics, now fourth generation, allow the controls to accurately meter and inject precise, small amounts of gas.
“The system is tried and tested and used in thousands of motors of all makes and sizes including Caterpillar, Volvo, Kenworth, Cummins, Scania, Nissan, Ford, Mercedes, Land Rover and many others.”
A trained network of licensed installers covers 70 locations around Australia, with the product fully warranted on all components for three years. New vehicle warranties are not affected by after-market LPG conversions.
“A typical highway truck manages about 1.8 kilometres per litre of fuel. If a dual diesel-gas system achieves just a 16 per cent saving in the fuel bill, the installed system will pay for itself in about seven months. After that, it’s money in your wallet,” he said.
Financing arrangements are available. The system can also be rented over three, four or five years, depending on the vehicle type.
As well saving fuel, the computerised LPG injection system lowers exhaust emissions to the atmosphere, improves torque and driveability, and cuts engine wear by reducing the build-up of harmful contaminants in the engine, according to FuelSave and DGA.
“A normal diesel burn consumes 75-80 per cent of the fuel, therefore at least 20 per cent of all fuel is wasted and does not contribute to engine efficiency or performance. LPG improves the combustion process, resulting in an increased burn – up to 95-98 per cent,” David Redfern said.
The LPG fuel management system is housed in a dashboard-mounted black box that determines the required amount of gas, optimum pressure and injection timing required by the engine.
The system responds to a manifold pressure sensor or throttle position sensor, the engine coolant temperature sensor and the vehicle’s tachometer reading. Diesel engines can be converted to dual fuel use relatively easily.
Installation normally takes one-two days, dependent on the type of vehicle. The LPG tank is usually mounted underneath the vehicle and the gas line runs to a converter placed under the bonnet.
The system is “bolt on” technology and is transferable from one vehicle to another. All kits are fitted to Australian Standards AS1425.
Both naturally aspirated and turbo engines can be fitted with the dual system, which does not interfere with any of the electronics found on modern diesels.
If the engine runs properly on bio-diesel, the system will deliver the same result and be even cheaper to run due to the cost of bio-diesel.