Mack’s Production of DME-Powered Vehicles Begins in 2015

June 21, 2013
Mack Trucks will begin production of dimethyl ether (DME)-powered MACK Pinnacle Axle Back models in 2015

Mack Trucks will  begin production of dimethyl ether (DME)-powered MACK Pinnacle Axle Back models  in 2015.

DME, a  non-toxic, clean-burning alternative fuel, offers many environmental and  societal benefits, including that it can be made from multiple sustainable  feedstocks. 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.

Furthermore, DME  can be made from North America’s plentiful 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 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. Mack trucks  are built in the U.S.A., and with DME, we’ll be powering our vehicles with a  fuel made in America as well.”

The Pinnacle Axle Back model powered by DME will be equipped with a MACK MP8  engine, offering a 13-liter engine to easily handle heavy workloads. The Pinnacle  Axle Back model is ideal for highway van trailer applications, bulk hauling,  flatbed and dump trailer jobs. 

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.

“Mack is a  leader in natural gas technology development, and we believe 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 recently announced their first innovative  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.”