UK Report Identifies Natural Gas as Key Carbon Cutter for Road Freight Sector

| United Kingdom

Sainsbury’s dual-fuel fleet operates with Clean Air Power technology and Gasrec biomethane.

Switching from diesel to natural gas, reducing rolling resistance and aerodynamic drag and introducing more hybrid and electric vehicles are identified as key opportunities for further cutting carbon and improving efficiency in the road freight sector according to a new report commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Transport Knowledge Transfer Network (TKTN) and the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP).

The report, written by Ricardo-AEA for the project partners, focuses on the key technical opportunities, but importantly identifies options to overcome the main barriers to the adoption of carbon reduction technologies in the road freight sector which is responsible for around 7% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions.

The report highlights that with two leading UK companies specialising in dual-fuel technology, encouraging a shift to gas — both compressed (CNG) and liquefied (LNG) — could provide significant growth and export opportunities for the UK as well as reducing well-to-wheel (WTW) emissions by up to 65% if the gas (methane) used is derived from a renewable source (biomethane).

The Ricardo-AEA report has fed in to the work of the Task Force on Fuel Efficient, Low Emission HGV technologies which is a joint industry/government initiative aimed at promoting the use of fuel efficient, low emission road freight technologies.

Led by the Department for Transport, the Task Force membership includes the LowCVP, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the Transport Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the Road Haulage Association (RHA).

The report found that long haul and regional deliveries account for about 70 % of UK HGV CO2 emissions and therefore suggests that efforts should be focused here.

Andy Eastlake, Managing Director of the LowCVP said: “Switching from diesel to gas provides one of the clearest opportunities for cutting freight sector emissions. The Low Carbon Truck trials are a good start but we need a long-term road transport gas strategy to build on the progress made so far.

Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive said: “The recommendations set out in the report clearly identify the technologies we should focus on and the measures necessary to achieve a lower carbon commercial vehicle sector.”

Neil Ridley, Transport KTN Director said: “The freight sector is of strategic importance to the UK economy and we need to support and aid its adoption of low carbon technologies. Drawing on learning from other sectors, this report enables all involved in the freight and logistics industry to easily identify the most significant contributors to carbon reduction and fuel improvements by vehicle duty cycle.”

The full report is available here.

The increasing focus on biomethane as a low-carbon transportation fuel in the UK has led to the planning of UK Biomethane Day 2013, May 21 in Birmingham.

(This article primarily compiled using information from a LowCVP press release)

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