Applus+ IDIADA is part of COLHD, a European funded project bringing together some of Europe’s top universities, SMEs and engineering organizations, to find alternatives to using fossil fuels in Heavy Good Vehicles (HGVs).

The project aims to develop an alternative fuel (AF) engine that is more efficient than a standard diesel engine. Such a prototype would be the first of its kind as, to date, no alternative fuel engine has proven to be more efficient than standard diesel. As well as Applus+ IDIADA, the COLHD consortium consists of four knowledge partners, three SMEs and nine industry partners, ensuring an informed and pragmatic approach to bringing alternative fuel solutions to road freight transport in Europe.colhd

One of the key outcomes of the project is to develop three powertrain prototypes running on biogas and second generation biofuels. Some of the engine development work is also already underway.

Another important part of the project is the definition of best fuel blends from a technical, environmental and economic point of view. For that end, an infrastructure assessment to evaluate the commercial potential of the fuel blends in a variety of scenarios in the coming decades has already started.

One important innovation from this project will be the design and construction of a novel alternative fuel storage system for high-pressure gas injection powered vehicles. The COLHD team has designed three concept prototypes from which the final design will be chosen. The team will also design and build an accompanying Boil-Off Gas Recovery System, to avoid the fugitive emissions of methane into the atmosphere.

Once the three prototype powertrains have been calibrated and integrated into demonstration trucks, the project will conduct real-life driving tests along European corridors. Before that, portable emissions measurement system (PEMS) tests will take place on other trucks already available on the market. This will allow for a comparative analysis of efficiency, costs and emissions. Two PEMS have already taken place (Iveco Stralis 420hp / Diesel, Iveco Stralis 400hp / LNG).

The project also seeks to identify the economic, social and political barriers to the development of the AFs market. With this in mind, a tailored consultation is being undertaken with several stakeholders along the supply chain. Current standards, regulations and homologation procedures affecting the AFs market are also being studied in order to define possible and necessary future steps.

From a management perspective, the project partners are in constant contact through meetings and calls, thereby enhancing cooperation and coordination among consortium members. Since the project started, a general assembly and two steering committees have taken place, with the dissemination strategy and materials defined, as well as the project website, brand and logo, communication guidelines, risk management issues and marketing strategy. In addition, a dedicated communications group has been set up, where all partners can combine their efforts and coordinate strategies to maximise the sharing of project results.

Applus+ IDIADA is keen to see what the next six months of the project will bring, given its interest in the development of heavy-duty engines and vehicles running on AFs, and, particularly, the development of dual fuel engines. One of its key interests is understanding the effect of using biofuels on engine development.

With its long experience in LNG and dual fuel engine development, Applus+ IDIADA is pleased to participate in the COLHD project and continue to innovate and improve in the area of heavy duty engines with AFs. Applus+ believes that dual fuel engines have significant potential in the current market, an importance that is well-served by this project.

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