UK Government Funds Natural Gas – Biomethane Fleet Trials

| United Kingdom

Funding recipient Robert Wiseman Dairies will trial 40 dual-fuel natural gas articulated trucks.

The United Kingdom’s innovation agency, The Technology Strategy Board (TSB), has named thirteen successful applicants who will receive more than GBP 11 million (USD 17.3m) in support from the Government for carbon reduction trials that include natural gas and biomethane projects. The funding is part of a GBP 23 million (USD 36.3 m) demonstration programme that aims to encourage road haulage operators in the UK to buy and use low carbon commercial vehicles.

Freight Minister Mike Penning said “There has been a great response to this competition from industry and the successful projects bring together a range of partners including fleet operators, vehicle convertors, gas hub providers and universities. “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.”

The Government funding will help operators establish and run fleets of alternative & 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.

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.

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 demonstrator trials include:

  • The John Lewis Partnership working with partners to demonstrate a 70% reduction in carbon emissions in a wide range of articulated vehicles. This will be achieved by combining recent research into truck aerodynamics with technology that substitutes the majority of the diesel used with bio-methane, and many other interventions.
  • A project led by G-Volution that will trial ten 44 tonne dual-fuel commercial HGVs using their patented dual fuel technology ‘Optimiser’ and biomethane.  The articulated trucks, converted to dual-fuel, will be trialled alongside diesel equivalents, providing direct comparison data for different operating environments.
  • J.B. Wheaton and Sons Ltd will trial, with other fleet operators, the use of 28 vehicles that will be fuelled from compressed natural gas or liquid natural gas blended with renewable biomethane to run dual-fuel gas converted trucks. The project will also provide seven fixed refuelling stations & five mobile stations, which can be shared with other fleet operators.
  • Robert Wiseman Dairies, collaborating with Chive Fuels, Cenex and MIRA, will trial the use of 40 new warranted dual-fuel 40 tonne articulated trucks substituting diesel with natural gas from two upgraded public access liquefied natural gas stations, one in the West Midlands and one in Scotland.

Trials will be managed by the Technology Strategy Board ( in partnership with the Department for Transport ( and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles. The demonstration trial fleets will be run for two years, during which time usage data will be gathered and analysed by the Department for Transport.

TSB has been set up to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.  Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy.

(This article compiled using information from a Technology Strategy Board press release)

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