Episode 18: Conversation with Monica Johansson, fuel and energy analyst at Volvo Group
Monica Johansson has been on a running streak for 1,170 days. Her goal is to take 20,000 steps a day. She runs about 20 minutes every day. She also runs four to five ultramarathons a year. An ultramarathon is anything above a regular marathon, which is 42.195 kilometers.
Johansson has worked for Volvo Cars since June 2011 as fuels engineer and then with Volvo Group since March 2019. She received her Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2004 and her PhD in Internal Combustion Engines with Alternative Fuels as subject, from Chalmers Technical University in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2012. Her PhD thesis was entitled “Fischer-Tropsch and FAME Fuels as Alternatives for Diesel Engines; an Experimental Study.”
Volvo Group, which is headquartered in Gothenburg, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines. It has set a target to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030. In October 2021, it earned the distinction of having produced the world’s first fossil-free steel vehicle, in collaboration with SSAB.
“I can relate my ultramarathon to my work,” says Johansson. “It’s taking small steps at a time and looking at the finish line. Everybody is so motivated to get these sustainable vehicles on the road,” she adds.
“There are many challenges but I like to see them as challenges and not disadvantages. I think we should work together. This collaboration is very important.”
The Volvo Group’s brand portfolio consists of several distinct brands, targeting different customers, stakeholders, segments and markets, including Volvo, Volvo Penta, Terex Trucks, Renault Trucks, Prevost, Nova Bus, Mack, and Arquus. Its joint ventures include Shandong Lingong Construction Machinery Co (SDLG) in China, which is focused on reliable and competitive equipment primarily in China and other emerging markets; Eicher, one of the largest players in the Indian mainstream commercial vehicle market; DongFeng Trucks, which manufactures heavy and medium duty trucks, for demanding operations in long haul, regional and local distribution and for tough construction, mining and off-road operations in China; and, Cellcentric, a 50-50 joint venture between Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group, which is responsible for all activities along the entire value chain for fuel cell systems.
In her role as a fuel and energy analyst for a global company, Johansson says: “We need to develop engines and drivelines for the world. There are some places in Asia where renewable electricity and renewable hydrogen is not the biggest part of electricity production.There will be a lot of these hubs where you will be able to do this, but it is very important to look at the well to wheel to reduce emissions. It is not only CO2 emissions. We have to look at the entire lifecycle.”
“We will not phase out the combustion engine. There will be applications where we need it. But of course, with combustion engines, you need to have renewable fuels. It can be electric fuels, it can be biofuels, and of course, we have our LNG engines that can operate on liquid biogas. So we will have the combustion engine, the battery electric vehicle and fuel cell electric vehicle operating on hydrogen.”