Two researchers from SERG group, Daniele Fiaschi and Giampaolo Manfrida, have applied in 2018 for a patent related to smart use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) on heavy road vehicles (trucks and buses). At present (2019), FIAT and SCANIA are producing commercial vehicles based on this technology and the fuel distribution grid is being installed throughout Italy and Europe.
LNG is a clean fuel with many advantages over traditional diesel oil, with special reference to trucks and buses with high power and torque engines. The SmartTruck patent proposes a flexible onboard use of the cold energy recovered from LNG regassification (which is needed to use LNG as a fuel for the engine): this cold can be used for the refrigerated load and for vehicle comfort air conditioning, but can also be used in an air precooler stage for the engine, thereby producing more power and torque, lowering fuel consumption and decreasing emissions to the environment. Typically, referring to a 300 kW engine, a boost of about 30 kW can be obtained.
SmartTruck proposes an intelligent and flexible use of this cold energy, based on real-time information gathered on-board about engine status, position, road planning, and traffic.
A short presentation of the idea is attached.