Friday 16 April 2021

Transport industry hits the gas

Statistics released by industry trade body the Gas Vehicle Network (GVN) have shown a 78 per cent increase in sales of gas as a transport fuel during 2020.

Isaac Occhipinti, head of external affairs at GVN, said the figures “clearly show the direction of travel for the HGV sector”, especially when compared to the 22 per cent growth in 2019 – adding that “it is clear to see that renewable gas is the future”.

He continued: “The gas vehicle industry is delivering vehicle technology and widespread infrastructure together with financial incentives through the governments’ fuel duty differ-ential scheme, thanks to the work of GVN making it a financial and sensible decision to switch to gas from diesel.

“There are also great environmental benefits of renewable gas in transport. Bio-methane fuelled HGVs emit 85 per cent less carbon into the atmosphere compared to a ‘clean’ Euro VI diesel.

“The HGV sector accounts for a disproportionate share (17 per cent) of transport carbon emissions but only two per cent of vehicles on our roads are HGVs and buses, and they only travel six per cent of miles.”

Occhipinti added: “Transport is the single largest sector for carbon emissions so we all know it needs to be decarbonised quickly for us to meet the Net Zero 2050 objectives. GVN continue to work with the Department for Transport to recognise the enormous potential of biofuels, including renewable gas, to bring down carbon as well as greenhouse gas emissions from HGVs.

“These latest statistics show that fleet managers are increasingly coming on board, we now need government to join us on our journey to Net Zero.”

High-profile gas users include Gregory Distribution, which has installed its first bio-LNG (liquefied natural gas) refuelling station at its Cullompton depot (pictured). The facility will service a further 13 Volvo FH LNGs going into operation with the logistics provider, following a trial involving seven of the tractor units last year. The station is owned and operated by Gasrec.

The operator predominantly uses its LNG fleet to deliver palletised goods, often double-shifted on long-haul journeys for maximum environmental benefit.

“The transition to alternative fuels is a key part of our long-term strategy and this new facility is a continuation on that journey,” said Paul Jefferson, group legal, risk and sustainability director at Gregory Distribution.

“We put our first LNG trucks on the road last September and the reduction in carbon emissions have been clear to see.

“The technology has come on leaps and bounds in the past 12 months and the feedback from the drivers on the Volvo trucks has been hugely positive.

“The one challenge we have faced with LNG has been the infrastructure; but now with the help of Gasrec, we are taking control of our destiny by getting this facility on our own site. It’s a major step forward.”

He added: “There is a growing expectation from our customers to support them in their sustainability strategy and objectives. Running our fleet on these more environmentally-friendly fuels is a key part of this. Right now, for our long-distance trunking work, Bio-LNG is the best option to help reduce our carbon footprint.”

Other adopters of bio-LNG include frozen food distributor Reed Boardall.

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