Garrett’s Commercial Vehicle Technology Leadership Boosts Long-Haul Natural Gas Market
Turbocharged long-haul and medium-duty trucks running on Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) are moving from niche to mainstream as manufacturers leverage the fuels’ inherent CO2 and emissions advantages.
Remarkable innovation in powertrain technology, supported by Garrett’s leadership in turbo electrification, is driving business growth in China and Europe for new generation natural gas commercial vehicles and sparking interest worldwide.
The reason for this rapid growth over the last five years? CNG powertrains emit on average 15% less CO2 than their diesel counterparts – and could reach more than 20% reductions in some vehicles – with virtually zero particulate matter. Moreover, when CNG or LNG is replaced by renewable biogas, the CO2 footprint falls by 95% compared to diesel.
In addition, new generation natural gas powertrains have pushed NOx emissions reduction from 50% to 90% over predecessor systems compared to a diesel powertrain. Natural gas-powered trucks are also up to 10 decibels quieter than their diesel counterparts.
Natural gas technology is currently commonplace in works and transit vehicles, such as refuse trucks and buses, but natural gas is also increasingly helping long haul fleets meet incoming environmental standards on the road to zero emissions while reducing their total cost of ownership.
“These are the drivers influencing the significant uptick in demand for natural gas powertrains among commercial fleets,” said Garrett’s Pierre-Jean Cancalon, Senior Marketing Manager, Commercial Vehicle Turbochargers. “However, while natural gas offers inherent environmental benefits, it cannot be at the cost of real-world truck performance. So, leaning on our gasoline experience, we have developed a portfolio of high temperature turbo technologies offering aerodynamic performance in step with the energy efficiency and durability required by the sector.”
Garrett engineers have developed wastegate architectures to boost Natural gas powertrains, utilizing compressor and turbine innovations, with a particular focus on kinematic robustness as the duty cycle of wastegate actuation is several times more severe than a turbo designed for diesel. Garrett’s best-in-class twin scroll turbine design offers optimal exhaust flow separation to improve combustion, while electrification is also being introduced to enhance turbo responsiveness and control.
As a result, Garrett is the world’s leading provider of turbo technologies for heavy-duty LNG/CNG engines, and the supplier of choice to world-renowned OEMs throughout Asia and Europe.
Some of the company’s turbo advances for natural gas have been developed through collaborative initiatives, such as Europe’s LONGRUN consortium and program, supporting low carbon powertrain innovations for trucks and coaches.
The benefits of gas powertrains in the long-haul truck space are clear to see, confirmed by accelerating investment in refueling infrastructure for CNG, LNG and bio-methane.
“At a turbo level, we see continued performance enhancements through electrification, whether paired to natural gas-powered vehicles and with hybrids, due to step-change innovations linked to government-funded programs,” Cancalon added. “This ability to meet stringent standards with less complicated emissions controls will become increasingly attractive to long haul operators, particularly since new generation natural gas heavy-duty powertrains are achieving up to 1,600-kilometer range.”
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