A research project initiated by the Vienna University of Technology has convinced Austrian company Magna Steyr AG to employ natural gas and biogas-driven Mercedes-Benz Econic trucks to service the city of Graz, Austria. As part of the decision, around 30 diesel trucks are to be replaced by Econic semitrailer tractor vehicles.
A contributory factor in making the decision was the fact that the Econic can run on biogas (methane) produced from bio-waste, without requiring any technical changes to be made to the vehicle. Such waste can include unused grass cuttings, for example, which remain available in large quantities in Austria.
This use of regenerative energy not only saves resources, but in addition also creates jobs, a point highlighted by the research project's final report.
Yet there is another advantage for Magna Steyr, a company which is already involved in the development of hybrid drives, hydrogen and gas engines – it will be able to take on a leading role in the field of “low-emission” logistics.
Professor Ernst Pucher, who lectures at the Vienna University of Technology, tested the natural gas drive for over a year. To date, more than 100 trucks have operated on a daily basis between Magna Steyr’s plants and various rail terminals. The result: The emissions produced by the 279 hp-Econic with natural gas drive do not contain any fine dust or particles.
In addition, the gas drive also boasts low noise emissions. The noise level of a petrol engine is usually around 77 dBA, while that of a diesel engine is between 85 and 97 dBA. During the test phase, the noise emissions of the Mercedes-Benz Econic were around 77 dBA. And thanks to additional noise-insulating measures, the engineers at the Daimler plant in Wörth have now succeeded in achieving a further reduction down to 72 dBA. As a result, Magna Steyr is now able to operate a third shift – the night shift, in the Graz city area, without disturbing residents.