Biogas transport fuel could cut HGV emissions by 65%

December 2012


Running the UK’s HGV fleets on biogas could cut haulage emissions by almost two thirds, according to a new report by consultants Ricardo-AEA.


The report – Opportunities to overcome the barriers to uptake of low emission technologies for each commercial vehicle duty cycle – finds that replacing traditional diesel fuel with liquid natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG) could reduce haulage well-to-wheel (lifetime) emissions by up to 16 per cent.


Crucially, however, using renewable LNG, could cut HGV emissions by up to 65 per cent, the report said.


Ricardo-AEA estimates that long haul and regional delivery account for 70 per cent of the UK’s HGV CO2 emissions. The Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Transport (DfT) have invested almost £10million to trial low carbon transport fuels for HGVs, including biomethane, which is produced by the anaerobic digestion of dead plant, food and animal material.


Commenting on the report, Andy Eastlake, Managing Director of the Low Carbon Vehicles Partnership (LowCVP), one of the sponsors of the report, said: “Switching from diesel to gas provides one of the clearest opportunities for cutting freight sector emissions. The Low Carbon Truck trials are a good start but we need a long-term road transport gas strategy to build on the progress made so far.


“Like the car market, the hybrid truck market would benefit from incentives to encourage early adoption.”


Doug Leaf, Commercial Development Manager of British firm Gasrec, Europe’s only producer of liquefied biomethane and a producer of Bio-LNG transport fuel *, said he “fully endorsed” the findings of the report.


“Gasrec is now seeing widespread adoption of Bio-LNG for HGVs across the UK by an number of large retailers and haulage companies such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, DHL, UPS and B&Q. This is not just about delivery of a low carbon commercial vehicle fuel, it is about securing and future-proofing significant cash savings over prolonged periods of time.


“The characteristics of Bio-LNG offer such savings in cash & carbon and the product is scalable in its availability thus providing security of supply,” he added.


Neil Ridley, Director of the Transport Knowledge Transfer Network, added: “The freight sector is of strategic importance to the UK economy and we need to support and aid its adoption of low carbon technologies.


“Drawing on learning from other sectors, this report enables all involved in the freight and logistics industry to easily identify the most significant contributors to carbon reduction and fuel improvements by vehicle duty cycle.”


* Gasrec’s Bio-LNG transport fuel combines Liquefied Biomethane (LBM) with Liquid Natural Gas (LNG).

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