Gasrec Ltd, a pioneer of Bio-LNG (liquefied landfill biomethane) for transport fuel and supplier for gas powered HGVs on UK roads and staunch advocate for natural gas for transportation, has expressed dismay that the recently published London Assembly Environment Committee report – ‘Driving away from diesel – Reducing air pollution from diesel vehicles’ ignored one of the most promising technologies to offer a solution – natural gas.
Rob Wood, Chief Executive Officer, Gasrec Ltd, says the use of low emission natural gas powered transport is growing across the UK – and Europe – as a commercially and environmentally beneficial solution for powering the next generation of road vehicles. With support from OEMs such as Iveco, Mercedes-Benz, Scania and Volvo, there are currently over 700 gas-powered heavy commercial vehicles on the UK road network being operated by leading household brands. Additionally, many lighter gas powered delivery vehicles are also being used for deliveries in urban areas, including London, by companies such as DHL and Tesco.
The OEM companies mentioned already offer a selection of new Euro VI models and have plans to introduce an expanded range of types and sizes in due course. This proven technology is ideally suited to urban and city-centre deliveries with costs competitive with diesel, Wood explains, with many major European cities moving to embrace the fuel for inner city transportation.
London can benefit: with vehicles already available, it would only require the development of a modest network of filling stations which could be relatively quickly established. This would help reduce emissions from both light and heavy delivery vehicles which – as the report points out – currently account for around 17% of London’s NOx emissions. A collateral benefit would also be noise reduction because gas engines are inherently quiet and well suited to deliveries in towns and cities during the night.
“Perhaps an additional recommendation to the report should be to encourage the London Mayor to treat low noise, low emission natural gas powered vehicles in a similar way to other low emission technologies and encourage their greater use,” says Woods.
“It is a great shame – and missed opportunity – that such an influential report from the UK’s flagship city, completely missed an opportunity to genuinely explore a credible and readily available (now) solution for the transport pollution ills of inner cities and urban areas. It would also be very sad if other cities across the UK took their lead from London and followed a similar path without considering the benefits and opportunity offered by natural gas,” Woods concludes, adding his expressed hope London’s door is not closed.