Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Freight Pollution to be Cut as Road Haulage and Logistics Groups Partner Gas Suppliers

Government Involved in Latest Series of Truck Tests
Shipping News Feature

UK – BOC, compressed and liquefied natural gas (LNG) providers and part of the Linde Group which has transformed itself from a fork lift and supply chain support operation to a major gas engineering and supply group, has teamed up with multimodal logistics specialists, the Stobart Group to quantify the benefits of low-carbon LNG as fuel for the freight company’s fleet of trucks. The two organisations are taking part in a £23 million demonstration programme coordinated by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) which aims to encourage road haulage operators in the UK to buy and use low-carbon commercial vehicles.

Leading the trails will be thirteen companies which will be managed by the TSB, in partnership with the Department of Transport and the Office for Low Emissions. Alongside BOC, the twelve other demonstrator trials will be led by Ascott Transport Ltd, Brit European Transport Ltd, CNG Services Ltd (who will be leading 2 trials), G-Volution Ltd, Howard Tenens Associates Ltd, J.B. Wheaton and Sons Ltd, John Lewis Partnership plc, T Baden Hardstaff Ltd, Robert Wiseman Dairies, Tesco plc, and United Biscuits UK Ltd. Speaking about the move Freight Minister Mike Penning commented:

“These trials will reduce CO2 emissions from freight and provide important information from a range of real-life situations that will increase industry confidence in low carbon trucks in the long term. For example, operators often cite lack of gas refuelling infrastructure as a barrier to the take up of alternatives to diesel. These trials include £2.4 million funding for publicly accessible gas stations which will encourage investment in low carbon trucks, and other vehicles, delivering long term benefits for the environment and reduced costs for operators.”

The Government funding will help operators establish and run fleets of alternative and dual-fuel heavy-goods vehicles by meeting part of the difference in capital cost between traditional vehicles and their low carbon equivalents. Over 300 low-carbon commercial vehicles will be involved in the demonstration programme. Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said:

“This trial will enable commercial vehicle operators to showcase alternative-fuel commercial vehicles. It will help to accelerate a wider understanding and acceptance of low carbon vehicle technologies, while enabling the development of alternative fuel infrastructures.”

The funding will also help meet the cost of the refuelling points for use by the trial fleets, including the provision of 11 new public access refuelling stations around the country, which will be available for use by other operators.

BOC will provide refuelling facilities for the Eddie Stobart fleet of dual-fuel vehicles at one of Stobart Group’s regional hubs, again with scope for other operators to use these facilities. The project will track the usage of LNG – which typically accounts for up to 65-70% of total fuel consumption for a dual-fuel vehicle – as well as the reduction in CO2 emissions. It will also provide an opportunity to rigorously assess BOC’s innovative refuelling technology.

BOC has developed a highly-efficient, ‘no-loss’ technology, using its expertise in cryogenic cooling technology to temperature-condition the fuel just prior to dispensing. This ensures that no fuel is lost to evaporation and venting during the refuelling process. On average, 20% can be lost with more conventional systems, so this represents a major cost and carbon saving to users. The design and engineering of the new LNG dispensing systems have gas-leak detection sensors linked to automatic shutdown protocols among other safety features. BOC’s Director of Bulk and Packaged Gases, Nathan Palmer, said:

“Minimising fuel losses when refuelling will make a major improvement to the already strong environmental credentials of LNG as a transport fuel. This project will allow us and the Stobart Group to quantify just what is possible with this technology.”