A UK research project assessing the viability of biomethane in heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) saved more than 1,400 tonnes of well-to-wheel (WTW) carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions compared to diesel in a two-year trial.
The ‘Dedicated to Gas’ project deployed 20 Euro VI vehicles running on biomethane as a combination of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) trucks to three fleet operators: Howard Tenens, ASDA and Kuehne + Nagel. The project was partly funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK’s Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial (LEFT) in partnership with Cenex, Air Liquide, Emissions Analytics and Microlise.
During the trial, vehicles travelled over 2.2 million kilometres, saving more than 1,400 tonnes of WTW CO2e, equivalent to driving 56 times around the globe and saving 3,150 trees, which could be enough trees to cover 18 football pitches. The project results revealed that, when compared to diesel, vehicles would save at least 17% in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with a 25% biomethane blend (B25) and 100% biomethane (B100) yields savings of at least 76%.
According to low-emission vehicle research organisation Cenex, this is the first UK study to assess the performance of in-service and tested vehicles that are all Euro VI factory-fitted OEM gas vehicles. Additionally, trial drivers reported that gas-fuelled vehicles performed better than diesel when considering engine noise, vibration, overall drive comfort and engine braking.
Although gas vehicles require a higher initial investment than diesel, and higher maintenance costs, the fuel costs are lower. HGVs account for approximately 17% of UK GHG emissions from road transport. Gas vehicles fuelled by biomethane can offer a ‘strong contribution’ to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.
“This is an exciting time for the gas truck industry,” said Steve Carroll, head of transport at Cenex, “after a decade of hard work, the UK is now in a position where there is a wide variety of OEM gas trucks and clean renewable biomethane available from public refuelling stations.
“This project proved the economic, environmental and operational case for gas trucks powered by biomethane. With around 80% well-to-wheel CO2 reduction from diesel, this proven technology can provide a significant in-road to meeting our net zero targets and Cenex now looks forward to assisting fleets in making the switch.”