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Low Emissions Freight Trial shows ‘significant’ benefits of renewable gas

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Renewable fuels provider Gasrec said results of a recent major study have highlighted the ‘significant’ environmental and financial benefits of gas over diesel, particularly in long-haul applications.

The Low Emissions Freight Trial (LEFT) report, published following a £20 million government-funded programme to trial, develop, and demonstrate low-emission vehicles in the road transport sector, tested a range of gas-powered trucks from different manufacturers, including vehicles using spark ignition and compression ignition technologies.

The report also looked at the performance of vehicles running on compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG), including their biomethane equivalents.

After 12 months of in-service trials in customer fleets, spark ignition gas trucks achieved well-to-wheel greenhouse gas (GHG) savings of between 69-81% when fuelled with RTFO-certified biomethane.

When running on fossil gas, spark ignition trucks emitted lower GHG emissions only in the higher-speed cycles; but with biomethane, testing indicated there would be substantial well-to-wheel savings across all cycles, including long-haul, regional, urban, and city centre missions.

A second trial followed two compression ignition gas trucks, where a small amount of diesel is used as the ignition source for the LNG. In-service data was collected for nine months, demonstrating this technology could generate well-to-wheel GHG savings of 8-14% across all cycles even with fossil-based LNG, versus diesel.

With biomethane, the well-to-wheel savings increased dramatically to 65% or more.

James Westcott, chief commercial officer of Gasrec, said: “It’s great to have independent trial data which clearly shows the significant CO2 savings which can be unlocked with gas or biomethane, particularly for long-haul emissions, which accounts for the bulk of the work our customers handle.

“The trial found the additional capital and maintenance costs for gas trucks compared to diesel can be recouped in just two years, thanks to the lower cost of fuel, based on a vehicle covering 160,000 kilometres per year. This puts gas well within reach for most long-haul fleets – with the additional incentive of increasing profitability over a typical three-to-five-year life.”