The burner will accompany us for a long time

Electromobility dominates the current discussions. There should be no alternative. The ultimate solution to secure our mobility. And the burner? He's dead. In the public eye. News that goes beyond the mainstream can easily fall through the cracks. The blog has always been Swedish in terms of its DNA. Because we lost production at Saab, Volvo is delivering the topic today. Gothenburg has made headlines in the past. Among other things, the imminent farewell to the combustion engine and a self-imposed speed limit made people sit up and take notice.

Volvo Brennenner manufacturing in Skövde
Volvo Brennenner manufacturing in Skövde. Picture: Volvo

Attention that a recent press release hardly found. Which is not appropriate to your meaning. Last week the Swedes announced the outsourcing the combustion activities. What Volvo and Geely previously did apart from each other, should be transferred to a joint company. Affected are 3.000 Swedish employees and the engine plant in Skövde, 5.000 employees of Geely are added. Layoffs are not planned.

Volvo will focus on the development of electromobility in the future. The lucrative development of the burners is left to the newly developing company. In fact, Volvo engines can be found today in many corporate models. For Lynk to 100%, for other brands with different penetration. For Geely, the move could be lucrative. Outside the Group, other brands can be supplied, and demand in China is likely to be high. Not a few Chinese manufacturers use licensed engines from Japanese manufacturers that are outdated. And Volvo burners play in the first division.

The origin of Volvo engines

The origin of the engines is shrouded in mystery. Rumors persist that they have a Saab origin. This is supported by the fact that the engine blocks for diesel and petrol engines are identical. An idea originally from the Stallbacka, which was not realized. The engines were said to have been developed on behalf of AVL in Södertälje, the former location of the Saab engine factory. With Saab's bankruptcy, they were sold at an advanced stage of development to Volvo for a smaller sum of millions, where they came at just the right time. After the split from Ford, Gothenburg needed a new generation of engines and got them cheaply and quickly.

The latest offshoots are the Volvo mild hybrids. Diesel and gasoline engines are electrified with 48 volt technology and have a belt-driven electric motor that is used to recover braking energy. The injection pressure of the gasoline engine approaches that of the diesel engine, with low load 2 cylinders switch off, the engine only runs on two pots. The mild hybrids are said to bring fuel savings of 15%; particle filters are standard. The production of the diesel drives is already running, the gasoline engine is now starting. The factory in Skövde was converted for several million euros.

Burners will accompany us for a long time

Even if in the public perception the burner turns its final round, it will accompany us in an electrified form for a long time. It is frowned upon to write, perhaps too bold and too much against the trend. But there are arguments for the deceased combustor, and the future will be a mix of different types of propulsion.

As far as weight is concerned, burners deliver an unbeatable low-priced package. A three-cylinder with gearbox weighs around 100 kilograms, much less than battery packs with 300 to 700 kilograms. The infrastructure for fueling stands, the farewell of fossil fuels moves closer. The magic words are synthetic fuels, which are made carbon-neutral and can keep the burners alive.

Printing is being researched and developed all over the world, and pilot plants have emerged. In a few years, synthetic fuels will be produced carbon-neutral on an industrial scale, marking the final departure from the oil age. The activities around designer fuels are international and develop an impressive dynamic. In the public discussion, they hardly play a role, which is once again regrettable. Get a good overview Bioenergy Internationalwhere the different trends can be found.

But let's stay in Sweden - the land of forests and good ideas. In Saab's time, people wanted to extract E85 from forest waste until fossil diesel fuel was suddenly considered better for the climate. A wrong path, as we have seen today, but the idea of ​​extracting fuel from plant residues still exists.

Synthetic fuels from Sweden

In the north covers providers Preem AB with two refineries, 80% of the national fuel requirement. The Swedes have always worked a little differently than the rest of Europe, synthetic fuels and the pursuit of self-sufficiency have a long tradition. HVO 100 is a designer fuel that has been available for a long time and partly consists of waste from the forest, paper and food industries. Who in Sweden "Evolution diesel”Refueling at a Preem petrol pump, which gets 50% synthetic fuel in the tank. It drives climate-friendly. It is similar with the "Evolution petrol", which has been offered for 4 years. Here the proportion of climate-neutral substances is somewhat lower, but should be increased.

Another sustainable project is being driven forward by Preem AB and the Setra Group. Your business Pyrocell will produce sawdust renewable fuels in Gävle, north of Stockholm. A renewable resource from forestry waste that is produced in huge quantities. The pilot plant in Gävle is already producing. From the end of 2021, production is to supply the refinery in Lysekil with synthetically produced oil on a larger scale.

Mobility in a heterogeneous environment

Designer fuels are an important topic for the future. The approaches vary from country to country. The Swedes rely on waste from renewable raw materials. A German idea sounds much more futuristic. The German "Crowd Oil”Project wants out of CO2 and decentralized water producing synthetic energy sources. The world's first conversion system runs at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the prospects are promising. With the CO2which 25.000 air-conditioning systems of the three largest grocers emit, could cover 30% of national kerosene needs or 8% of diesel demand.

A few years ago, this research would have been doomed to failure. The mineral oil lobby would sooner or later have ensured that the plug is pulled before it is ready for the market. Today, the environment has changed in the course of the climate debate, the projects have a chance of realization and can make our mobility climate-friendly.

The burner is far from dead. It will continue to accompany us. Electrified, fuel-neutral with synthetic fuels. He could be the better choice in a heterogeneous environment. In addition to battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen drives, it can form the third pillar in order to save energy and resources. The buyer would have the choice to choose the best drive concept for his life situation. Electric cars for the city, for the long haul synthetic fuels or hydrogen. Technology open-minded, which takes account of the responsible use of the planet.

11 thoughts on "The burner will accompany us for a long time"

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    Great article Tom, and super answers / points / questions from everybody else …… ..

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    PS (technology & ...)

    The latest media contributions that I have received, first, the news that a motion of the Greens on a speed limit of 130 for the BAB in front of the Bundestag has failed.

    Secondly, an interview in which the question of whether it really makes sense to cut down forests for wind energy was clearly answered YES and justified as follows.
    Wind turbines would save more CO2 than the forest could store in the same area ...

    The journalist did not question whether we still need more (instead of less and less natural) CO2 separators, interim and final storage ...

    I was wondering how it can be that deforestation and land use in Germany serve the climate, but elsewhere (South America, Asia) damage it so much that we have been constantly upset and excited about it for 35 years?

    My conclusion is that we still measure by two standards. And we've been seen through for a long time. For 25 years we have been shown a bird for wanting to colonize the “green lungs” of this earth.

    Practice what you preach, echoes us. And it's true. We are quite simply implausible and lose our voice in the international community of mankind if our national “climate packages” continue in a letter of max. 20g fit because we want to save on postage ...

    I like combustion engines, I like cars. I like candles, stoves, deer, wild boar, pheasant and gas stoves with a potent wok burner, fire bowls, charcoal grills, pizza and bread from the stone oven, kerosene lamps, matches and torches in the garden. And I would like to have a clear conscience with all of this ...

    In a country that relies on rare earths without a speed limit and where a wind turbine with blades made of synthetic resin is ecologically more valuable than a hectare of forest (with all its inhabitants), this could be very, very difficult. Just a thought ...

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    Wow, great article, Tom.
    I wish such words from the mouth of the Federal Transport Minister.
    But I think he is overwhelmed with “technology openness”.
    Sure: These options for obtaining fuel are initially expensive, but that was the case with all new inventions. The first mobile phone cost about 4.0000 DM, today only a fraction of it.

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    Technology & synthetics

    I like the optimistic tone of the blog article (and comments). The fact that in the future there will probably be broader thinking and diverse approaches to solutions will be tested and made possible, gives hope for more ...

    CO2 separator, intermediate and final storage

    So far, I miss in the discussion of the opportunities that nature itself offers us. Each plant is a CO2 separator of 100% energy and climate efficiency. Depending on their use and recycling, they are also natural intermediate or even ultimate storage for carbon.

    Alone on my humble land, several 100 tons of carbon are bound in plants, buildings and furniture.

    The CO2 increase in our atmosphere is due to the fact that over millions of years we have opened and exploited repositories of plant-derived carbon from the atmosphere (oil, natural gas, coal) and continue to do so.

    However that may be, the 15% efficiency of synthetic fuels mentioned by the StF reader is not low, but sensational - at least if I have correctly understood the link and article by the Süddeutsche Because 15% is astonishingly close to the kinetically maximum possible efficiency of a combustion engine ...

    I would not have believed that a synthetic fuel produced in a climate-neutral manner from captured CO2 would have such an efficiency between rubber and asphalt. Nonetheless, I hope that the media and politics will now shed their blinkers beyond such technical approaches. Because there is a lot more possible if you just want to or at least allow it ...

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    Also, I say thank you for the article. Great that here about alternatives is reported. What is now mature and thought through to the end, is not so important at first. I think it's important that you do not blindly go in one direction, but consider many options and possibilities.

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    Synthetic fuels appear to me as a medal with two sides, the first of which says forget it:
    The idea behind synthetic fuels is to generate a gaseous or liquid fuel from electricity (100% regenerative if possible) using carbon dioxide and water or hydrogen (which move in a closed cycle of materials), which can be used in today's combustion engines without any modifications . The combustion engines are made into “electric cars”, but figures of around 15% are in circulation for the efficiency of this process (e.g. ), which are so much worse than electric cars, that the argument that we will never be able to generate enough electricity for all electric cars (which, in my opinion, has not really been proven yet), is turning into, we will never get enough electricity for that produce the necessary amount of synthetic fuel.

    However, the other side of the coin is, and by the way, hardly addressed, that climate change without negative emissions (ie removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere) in our current and probably future behavior, hardly within the desired limits (maximum 2 ° C -Increase the average temperature). Part of this carbon dioxide needs to be disposed of, so that the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere actually goes back, but if you already have it, you can also produce synthetic fuels to make the running burners more climate-friendly. But where the whole renewable electricity comes from is not yet clear.

    Also priced, the potential customers will probably swallow. As a matter of curiosity, I fueled CARE-Diesel (a HVO diesel from waste oils and fats) last week, which cost the liter of 1,80 €. Gasoline drivers are looking forward to it, the Ultimate VPower SuperDuper fuel up their bargain.
    And CARE diesel is not yet synthetic, for these synthetic fuels starting prices between 4 - 5 € per liter are currently forecast, which probably only pays off for users who can pass the costs on to a large number of customers, probably airlines and shipping companies, for freight forwarders and private drivers will hardly run out of money.

    There is now a lack of incentives to start development on a broad front. It just has to change from an economic to a question of survival, but if we are unlucky, it will be too late ...

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    Again very interesting. In the mirror, a fervent advocate of e-cars, was just an article that you can only partially, but not completely recycle the batteries. The electric car thing also has huge disadvantages. Technology openness is therefore all the more important, the trend to dare not look to the left or right is highly problematic.

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    Fuel from the air?

    Until just now I did not know that we were ready. CO2 separator for more or less CO2-neutral production of hydrocarbons?

    That sounds pretty awesome. The industry certainly has to agree on one or more fuels, but this does not apply to their production. Where the carbon for the hydrocarbons to be defined comes from (gas, diesel, E85, petrol?) Does not matter, as long as it is extracted gently or even in a climate-neutral manner - in whatever way ...

    All that is sad is that this ingenious and informative blog is not a leading medium. Politics, society and media in Germany have long been committed to electromobility as the sole source of salvation. Well, maybe not every day is evening? Perhaps the limitless depletion of rare earths is not yet finalized?

    In any case, many thanks to Tom for this great article! ! !

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    This article is a hit!
    Thank you for all the new information, which also shows that the hype about e-mobility is to be viewed purely in terms of business ... the environment, as usual, only plays a subordinate role. Indeed, the future is becoming more and more complex ...

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    The future becomes much more complex than you imagine. There will be many types of propulsion side by side, our politicians just do not have the imagination to realize that. So far I have not known the Crowd Oil project, it reads very promising. I am sure there will be more innovative ideas in the future. The electric car alone will not be there anyway.

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    Thanks Tom for the great report!
    I see the current hype about the electromobility critical. For example, if times read through the current plug-in hybrid models (eg VolvoS60T8 plug-in hybrid) will find that the vehicles are not as economical as the vehicle manufacturers pretend.
    Pure electric cars are also out of the question for me, they are not suitable for everyday use.
    I think that the future lies in the fuel cell and the alternative fuels.
    The biggest problem I do not see in the research or development of alternative fuels or engines, but the biggest problem is the German policy, which except electric mobility and less driving not particularly think.


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