Mack will launch DME truck in 2015

Jason Cannon

June 20, 2013

Unknown-1Mack Trucks announced Thursday it will begin production of dimethyl ether (DME)-powered Mack Pinnacle Axle Back models in 2015.

The announcement puts Mack in the footsteps of its sister company, Volvo, which made a similar announcement earlier this month.

DME, a non-toxic, clean-burning alternative fuel that can be made from multiple sustainable feedstocks.

VIDEO: Rebecca Boudreaux, Ph.D., president of Oberon Fuels answers the question, “What is DME?”

“The benefits of DME are numerous,” said Kevin Flaherty, president of Mack Trucks North American Sales & Marketing. “It’s better for the environment because it burns clean, and it can be made from sources that are domestically available.”

Flaherty adds that DME powered Macks will be American-made trucks powered by American-made fuel.

One of the most significant advantages of the fuel is that it produces no soot, eliminating the need for a diesel particulate filter (DPF). DME can provide up to a 95 percent CO2 reduction compared with diesel when produced from biomass or biogas, Mack says.

Furthermore, DME can be made from North America’s domestic natural gas supply, food waste, animal waste, grass clippings and other sustainable sources, offering the potential to help reduce dependency on foreign oil.

The Pinnacle Axle Back model powered by DME will be equipped with a MACK MP8 13 liter engine.

DME has the same performance and energy efficiency as diesel. The fuel is compression-ignited, is handled and stored similar to propane and does not need cryogenic temperatures or high tank pressures.

“…DME has tremendous potential as an effective way to use the country’s abundant natural gas reserves to power heavy-duty trucks,” Flaherty said. “DME is unique in that it is clean, easy to handle, safe to store and will be made domestically, benefitting everyone.”

DME can be produced by small-scale production units that convert biogas and natural gas into the fuel. Oberon Fuels, who is also Volvo’s partner in its DME initiative, recently announced their first production unit will go online this month in California’s Imperial Valley region.

“Oberon Fuels has developed small-scale, skid-mounted production units that can cost- effectively convert a variety of feedstocks to DME,” said Rebecca Boudreaux, Ph.D., president of Oberon Fuels. “With these small-scale production units, regional fuel markets are created, offering the potential to bypass the infrastructure challenges of using an alternative fuel while also enabling the use of locally available feedstocks.”

Mack’s DME-powered Pinnacle model will an alternative fuel lineup that includes the natural gas-powered MACK TerraPro Cabover and Low Entry models and the natural gas-powered Mack Pinnacle, which made its debut during the 2013 Mid-America Trucking Show. Mack also plans to launch a natural gas-powered MACK Granite.

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