The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has released the Second Annual Report in relation to the Low Carbon Truck and Refuelling Infrastructure Demonstration Trial Evaluation, prepared by Atkins Ltd. DfT, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK are co-funding the Low Carbon Truck Trial: £11.3m provided by Government to pump prime procurement of low emission HGV technologies and their supporting infrastructure and leveraging over £12m of industry investment to create a £23.4m trial (USD 38m).
13 projects were provisionally accepted for funding at the commencement of the trial, including a majority of dual-fuel vehicles, some dedicated gas vehicles and some
vehicles running on used cooking oil. By December 2014 11 consortia were progressing with their project.
The trial aims to enable commercial vehicle operators to learn about alternative fuel vehicles and enable low-carbon vehicle producers to learn new ways to develop their products. The trial is also initiating publically-accessible gas refuelling infrastructure and generating a body of data to inform Government policy and industry investments through better information on potential emission reductions, fuel savings and operational benefits.
Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs)
Truck brands being trialled are Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, DAF and MAN. Conversion technology systems are made by Hardstaff (now part of Vayon Green Power Group), Prins and G-volution, with Clean Air Power technology being introduced in 2015. Altogether 169 LNG dual-fuel and 120 CNG dual-fuel vehicles are currently on the road, and 73 LNG dual-fuel and 5 dedicated CNG trucks are planned, in accordance with figures listed in the Executive Summary (effective end of 2014). In addition 10 NGVs have been purchased external to the program.
The majority of vehicles are in the 40-44 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW).
Natural Gas Filling Stations
16 new stations were initially proposed at the bidding stage. Of these, four were commissioned by the end of 2014. Of the nine planned upgraded stations, six were completed by the end of 2014.
Two years down the track the trial is demonstrating where there is improving performance, areas to note and areas where uncertainty remains and further trial data and research outside the trial might be required. In summary, improvements noted are:
- Gas venting from LNG expansion is being reduced by new vehicle technology and station vent capture technology
- Vehicle reliability has steadily improved with identified issues being addressed by manufacturer/conversion providers
- Fleets can now totally rely on public refuelling infrastructure although more stations are required
- The availability of Euro VI natural gas powered trucks will improve in 2015
- Vehicles are being relocated to routes that maximise performance (improved gas usage, lower gas prices)
- Improved telematics is providing instant feedback
- The Gas Vehicle Hub (www.gasvehiclehub.com) provides updated information on gas station availability.
Issues identified and still being addressed relate to methane slippage, insufficient availability of biomethane, appropriate recognition of biomethane in greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting, technical challenges with conversions, and ongoing concerns about gas pricing and availability.
The Executive Summary is available by clicking here (pdf).
(Source: UK Government)