Britain’s first research project to assess the viability of biomethane in heavy goods vehicles has saved over 1,400 tonnes of well-to-wheel CO2e emissions compared to diesel in a two-year trial.
The Dedicated to Gas project deployed 20 Euro VI vehicles running on biomethane to the three fleet operators, in a combination of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquified natural gas (LNG).
It was funded in part by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK’s Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial (LEFT) and delivered in partnership with Cenex, Air Liquide, Emissions Analytics, Microlise, Asda, Howard Tenens and Kuehne + Nagel.
The trial vehicles travelled over 2.2 million kilometres in total saving over 1,400 tonnes of WTW CO2e; the same distance as 56 times around the globe and equivalent to the CO2 saved in the lifetime of 3,150 trees, which would occupy a forest equivalent to the area of 18 football pitches.
The project results show that, when compared to diesel, vehicles would make at least 17% greenhouse gas emission savings with a 25% biomethane blend (B25), and 100% biomethane (B100) yields savings of at least 76%.
Testing has also shown that gas vehicles emit similar levels of NOx as their diesel comparators. However, these pollutant levels were generally low for both gas and diesel because all trial vehicles comply with Euro VI standards.
This is the first UK study to assess the performance of in-service and tested vehicles which are all Euro VI factory-fitted OEM gas vehicles. The trial drivers from the project fleets reported that gas vehicles perform better than diesel comparators in engine noise, vibration, overall drive comfort, engine braking and environmental performance.
While gas vehicles require a higher initial capital investment than diesel and involve higher maintenance costs, the fuel costs are lower. Due to the fuel cost savings, gas vehicles can pay back from year two of the total cost ownership at 160,000 km/year.
Heavy goods vehicles account for around 17% of UK greenhouse gas emissions from road transport. Gas vehicles fuelled by biomethane can offer a strong contribution to the UK’s 2050 net zero carbon target using technology which is proven, reliable, mature and cost effective.