John Lewis Partnership to build UK biomethane gas filling station

UK company the John Lewis Partnership is building a dedicated biomethane gas filling station.

The parent company of high-end department store John Lewis and Waitrose supermarket is building the station to enable its largest heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to use a low-carbon alternative to diesel. The organisation has also revealed it aims to stop using fossil fuels across its 4,800-strong transport fleet by 2030.

The station will be built in conjunction with Air Liquide and will open at the company’s head office in Bracknell in December, making it the firm’s first on-site filling station. It will facilitate the conversion of the Bracknell Waitrose fleet to biomethane and complement gas filling stations already in use near to John Lewis and Waitrose regional distribution centres in Leyland, Lancashire, and Northampton.

Serving around 120 Waitrose HGVs, the biomethane will be made from food waste and food processing waste materials. This will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 80%, with each truck saving more than 100 tonnes of CO2 every year. According to the John Lewis Partnership, the HGVS will also be quieter, helping to reduce noise pollution. Over the next seven years, the Bracknell site will save over 70,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to the carbon footprint produced by over 13,000 households.

Since 2015, 85 of the John Lewis Partnership’s heavy diesel vehicles have been replaced with biomethane trucks and a further 143 will be purchased and in operation by the end of 2020, making it the largest order of biomethane trucks in the UK.

Justin Laney, partner and general manager of Central Transport at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “The evidence of climate change is all around us, so it’s important we act now using available technology, rather than wait for unproven solutions to appear.

“We are working hard towards our new aim of removing all fossil fuel from our transport fleet by 2030, which will reduce our carbon emissions by over half a million tonnes and gets us well on the way to our ultimate target of operating a net-zero carbon emissions fleet.”

To eliminate fossil fuels from its commercial vehicle and car fleet by 2030, the John Lewis Partnership could introduce 1,750 electric vans and light trucks and around 750 refrigerated trailers converted from diesel to electric drive. The company’s 1,300-strong fleet would become 100% electric and any remaining vehicles that could not be converted to biomethane or electric will use hydrotreated vegetable oil biodiesel.

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