HGV trial reveals bio-fuel benefits

Results of four-year, £23.4m trial measuring the carbon impact of HGVs are now available.

The Low Carbon Truck and Refuelling Infrastructure Demonstration Trial (Low Carbon Truck Trial) was commissioned by the UK government to measure the potential benefits of low-emission heavy-goods vehicle (HGV) technologies and their supporting infrastructure.

The trial comprised of 12 consortia projects undertaken by 35 participating companies, including fleets, emission-testing companies, station providers, universities and product developers. These projects deployed more than 370 low carbon vehicles including dual-fuel vehicles, dedicated bio-methane and natural gas vehicles, and some trucks running entirely on used cooking oil. In addition, 15 refuelling stations were commissioned or upgraded across the country.

The vehicles travelled more than 65 million kilometres in that time.

In partnership with engineering consultancy Atkins, Cenex measured the impact and found that CO2 emission savings up to 85% were available from trucks operating with bio-fuels (used cooking oil or biomethane).

However, the report highlighted that only limited CO2 savings were available from trucks operating on natural gas. It also showed that the retro-fit dual fuel gas technologies emitted significant amounts of methane in the exhaust gas stream and needed further development; as this ‘methane slip’ resulted in an overall increase in Greenhouse Gas emissions. Finally, the report shares key barriers to large-scale low-emission truck implementation and provides the industry with recommended solutions.

Steve Carroll, head of transport at Cenex, said, ‘Cenex is pleased to share the findings from the UK’s largest demonstration of low carbon trucks, which offer real-world evidence of the impact low carbon HGVs can have on UK truck emissions and efficiency.

‘HGVs contribute nearly 20% of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport in the UK today. This trial highlights the importance of running large scale technology evaluation trials and demonstrates how investment in the right technology and infrastructure can significantly reduce the impact large-vehicle fleets have on our country’s overall emission levels.’

The full report, as delivered to the UK Department of Transport, is available here.