Scania Transport Lab: fossil free transport


Scania’s Transport Laboratory is showing the way towards emission-free logistics. Scania uses its own logistic system for field testing trucks, not only their own but also the competitors vehicles. The Scania trucks now run on fossil free HVO between Sweden and the production facility in Zwolle.

The internal transports are carried out by the Scania Transport Laboratory, which was founded in 2008 as an extension of Research and Development for on-the-road experience that mirrors actual customer operations.

Every day, the haulier operates eight truck and trailer combinations between the manufacturing plants in Södertälje, Sweden, and Zwolle in the Netherlands; each truck is driven for approximately 400,000 kilometres a year. That corresponds to three times a normal operational deployment, enabling Scania to rapidly assess product quality and performance.

In these operations from 2008 to 2018, Scania has gradually reduced fuel consumption to 23.9 litres per 100 kilometres, through introducing a series of efficiency enhancements. Initially, the focus was on optimised specifications, followed by dedicated driver training schemes.

From the start of operations, speeds were set at 80 kilometres an hour, which in itself reduces fuel consumption by ten percent with the added benefits of lower repair and maintenance costs, and a reduced risk of accidents. Two years later, boat-tails were added to trailers, and then tractors with double trailers were introduced, for a total length of 32 metres.

Reducing carbon emissions by nearly half
The Scania Transport Laboratory comprises a total of 45 trucks and coaches, of which 14 are tractors for long distance transport between Sweden and the Netherlands. The remaining 22 trucks are deployed in short distance transports, primarily between production units in Södertälje. Additionally, the transport lab operates five staff coaches between Stockholm and Södertälje.

Initially, the carbon footprint generated by these transports was 65 grams per ton-kilometre, which by 2017 had been reduced to 28 grams per ton-kilometre. This reduction was mainly achieved through lower fuel consumption, but operating ethanol, gas and hybrid trucks on local routes also contributed.

A strategic switch to HVO
Earlier this year, the transport lab took a strategic decision to exclusively operate on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) a near-zero carbon alternative to diesel available in Sweden. HVO now accounts for more than 90 percent of the laboratory’s annual fuel usage of approximately 1.6 million litres.

“On the trips to and from Zwolle we’re running close to empty tanks, but our drivers are trained to economise on fuel as much as possible on the 1,500-kilometre journey,” says Jan Björkund, Managing Director of Scania Transport Laboratory.

Since the laboratory feeds back invaluable operational data to Scania’s R&D, it is keen to put the latest vehicles to the test. Later this autumn, the fleet will include a liquefied biogas tractor unit, as well as Scania’s latest generation compressed biogas, ethanol-powered and hybrid trucks.