Volvo has announced that it will invest in Chemrec, a company that has researched technology for the production of synthesis gas, which is an important part of the creation of alternative fuels.
Black liquor, a residual product from the pulp industry, is currently incinerated in soda furnaces, producing energy with a relatively low efficiency rating.
By gasifying the black liquor, Chemrec creates a number of by-products, including synthesis gas, which have a higher efficiency rating.
The gas is then treated using developed techniques to extract fuels such as bio-diesel, hydrogen gas, synthetic diesel and DME.
Work on this technology has been taking place for 15 years and Chemrec is now in a position where it can extract synthesis gas from black liquor in a continuous operation. The next stage of the work will be to produce usable fuel.
Anders Brannstrom, president of Volvo Technology Transfer, said: "Chemrec has shown that there is an efficient process for converting biomass into renewable fuels.
"The Volvo Group has no intention of becoming a fuel supplier but wishes instead to continue to conduct engine development on a broad front. On the other hand, we do want to participate in the development of new processes for the production of alternative fuels."
Volvo said that the investment, which is being pursued with American venture capital company Vantage Point, is part of its support of the development of renewable fuels for the heavy vehicle industry.