UK bio-fuel supplier Gasrec has secured £4.9 million (USD 8 million) of European funding, to go toward developing a ‘pilot network’ of five new Bio-LNG filling stations across the UK motorway network and to provide a ‘pilot study’ on the development of similar sites and networks across mainland Europe.
The initiative will help the UK’s heavy goods vehicles (HGV) haulage fleet cut fuel pollution and costs, and assist the government to meet its long-term carbon reduction targets.
Produced in parallel with its development of the UK’s first bio-fuel filling station network for HGVs, the Gasrec study will assess the potential of Bio-LNG, when used as a vehicle fuel, to contribute to meeting European renewable energy targets.
Gasrec was selected for funding by the TEN-T (Trans-European Transport Networks) Executive Agency, which was created by the European Commission in 2006 and provides financial support to important transport infrastructure projects.
The study, to be carried out by independent consultants Transport & Travel Research, will test the use of Bio-LNG with HGV fleet operators already operating natural gas powered vehicles (NGVs) in the UK. It will monitor fuel consumption and traffic throughput at the five strategically located Bio-LNG refuelling stations that will be developed and operated by Gasrec. It will also address the three main barriers identified by the European Commission as inhibiting market development of alternative fuels, specifically: infrastructure availability; vehicle availability and price-point; and overall consumer demand.
Gasrec’s pilot network will be enhanced through the use of mobile refuelling stations, deployed initially in the UK on a temporary basis. This phased deployment will allow a smooth transition to achieving stable refuelling infrastructure before the mobile assets are passed to other EU member states as part of the continued test of market conditions in different EU locations.
The results of Gasrec’s study will be directly linked to the EU LNG Blue Corridors project, a project that will increase knowledge and awareness of LNG as an alternative fuel for medium and long distance road transport across the EU.
Gasrec’s chief financial officer James Ingall said: “This EU backing in the form of the TEN-T grant demonstrates the strong confidence placed in Bio-LNG, the role it has in helping achieve carbon reduction targets and the development of an effective and efficient cross-border transport network.
“Being one of a handful of organisations to win TEN-T funding endorses Gasrec’s significant experience in bio-fuel supply and delivery. With our technical expertise, our commitment to ensuring reliable service and our ambitious growth plans, we lead the way in helping the UK’s HGV haulage fleet cut fuel pollution and costs.
He concluded: “It’s hugely encouraging and shows that the launch of our first refuelling station at Daventry International Railway Freight Terminal was the start of something that is growing into a major force in British and European logistics.”
Gasrec is Europe’s only commercial producer of Liquefied Biomethane (LBM) as a vehicle fuel and the leading provider of Bio-LNG on the European market. Gasrec has opened nine refuelling sites in the UK, open access and dedicated, providing the UK gas refuelling network with both CNG and LNG filling systems. Gasrec’s customers include major retail and transport names such as B&Q, Sainsbury’s, Kuehne + Nagel, Tesco and Volvo Trucks.