The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) has released a new guide for fleet operators outlining how renewable fuels can immediately cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in road transport.
The guide particularly focuses on commercial vehicles, for which very few low emission solutions are currently available. According to the organisation, while there has been much focus on vehicle electrification to help meet the UK's net-zero target, there are still "major technical challenges" to overcome, particularly concerning longer-distance road freight.
According to the LowCVP, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) currently produce around 15% of total road transport GHG emissions, with a similar contribution coming from light-duty vans. Vehicles with long-haul duty cycles account for the largest portion of GHG emissions from HGVs.
The Renewable Fuels Guide, produced by the LowCVP and low-emission vehicle research and consultancy Cenex, shows how the adoption of renewable fuels from sustainable feedstocks offers one of the quickest and most economically-viable routes to lowering vehicle emissions. CNG Fuels and Scania also supported the guide.
Fergus Worthy, senior transport consultant at Cenex, said: "Renewable fuels have significant potential to deliver near-term carbon emissions savings for HGV operators.
"This new guide provides fleets with independent, impartial advice about the range of fuels on the market and is recommended for any organisation looking to reduce their carbon footprint."
The guide aims to educate fleet operators on the range of low carbon and sustainable fuels currently available in the UK, demonstrating the business and environmental case for their adoption. It focuses on renewable fuels such as biomethane, biodiesel, biopropane and hydrotreated vegetable oil.
According to the LowCVP, renewable fuels are mandated for use under UK legislation and are now present in most road transport fuel currently on the market. The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation Order (RTFO) requires large UK retail fuel suppliers to guarantee that at least 9.75% of the fuel they supply comes from renewable sources by 2020, and 12.4% by 2032. However, the latest figures show that only 4.9% of the total road fuel supplied in the UK currently comes from these sources.
The most recent UK Government statistics showed that UK renewable fuel supplies to the market achieved GHG emissions savings of 78% compared to fossil fuels; nearly 70% of such fuel supplied derived from waste feedstocks.
"The next decade is going to be critical for mitigating road transport GHG emissions if we are to meet the 2050 net-zero target," said Gloria Esposito, the LowCVP's head of projects. "Public and private sector fleet operators are under growing pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of their own activities and those of their suppliers. Renewable fuels can provide an immediate and cost-effective solution to achieving such savings, especially for HGV fleets.
"Low carbon and sustainable fuels have an important role to play in the sector and medium-term to reduce emissions from the commercial vehicle sector, particularly as electric and hydrogen fuel cell solutions in these applications present significant challenges and are at early stages of development."