Monday, June 23, 2014

Better Gas Infrastructure Can Reduce Road Haulage Freight Costs Say Low Carbon Report

HGV Dual Fuel and Alternative Power Trial Results Out This Month
Shipping News Feature

UK – This month sees the first annual report to the Department for Transport (DfT) on the trial evaluation of Low Carbon Truck and Refuelling Infrastructure, a scheme designed to incentivise an increasing number of road haulage operators to switch to more environmentally friendly power sources, particularly gas vehicles, and clean up the industry’s image. The initial report, authored by Atkins, immediately drew comments from the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

In January 2014, of the 354 trucks planned to be delivered through the trial, 175 trucks were in use, representing 49% of the total number of trucks planned through the trial. 18 low carbon trailers were also included and deployed in the trial. Most of the vehicles were dual fuel tractor gas trucks with 10 others running on cooking oil and 5 (proposed) LNG powered units.

13 projects had been selected to enter the trial after a competition held by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) which then co funded the scheme with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). The refuelling infrastructure, is planned to consist of 18 new stations to be on stream through the trial (five LNG stations, two CNG stations, 10 LCNG stations, 1 UCO station) with 8 existing stations due to be upgraded with methane vent capture technology.

The Government is providing £11.3 million to make up the overall £23 million demonstration project funding to pump prime procurement of low emission HGV technologies and supporting infrastructure. The increased utilisation of gas and ultimately biomethane will help the road freight sector to reduce carbon emissions and the 13 schemes are being led by a range of consortia including leading FTA members.

Of those 175 trucks already in use in January 2014 the average substitution ratio (the percentage of diesel fuel replaced by gas or UCO in dual fuel mode) was 46% for the dual fuel gas vehicles. Provisional results indicate carbon savings of up to 9% from dual fuel vehicles. Both the substitution ratio and carbon savings are expected to rise as more refuelling infrastructure becomes available. Rachael Dillon, FTA Climate Change Policy Manager said:

“The Low Carbon Truck Trial is putting more gas powered HGVs on the road and will also provide much needed provision of public refuelling infrastructure. The use of gas and biomethane will help industry to contribute to national carbon reduction targets and also tackle air pollution. However the cost of vehicle conversions [between £4,300 and £30,000, varying according to technology chosen, vehicle make and model, integration issues and LNG/CNG tank size] and lack of current refuelling stations is deterring take-up. The report provides crucial early feedback from the Low Carbon Truck Trial and identifies the operational challenges of running gas HGVs. We hope that the trial can kick start the market and look forward to seeing further results.”