Transport secretary Grant Shapps

The Department for Transport has announced funding for six projects totalling £20m to accelerate the development of zero-emission road freight.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Through our bold and ambitious transport decarbonisation plan, we’re leading the way in the transition to zero emission vehicles by becoming the first country in the world to commit to ending the sale of all new fossil-fuelled road vehicles by 2040, subject to consultation. 

“From Doncaster to Scotland, by working in partnership with industry, this funding will allow us to better understand the role of zero emission HGVs while levelling up the industry and boosting regional economies.”

The projects include an Electric Road System feasibility study, led by Costain, considering a 20-kilometre stretch of road near Scunthorpe for a possible trial of electric road systems. Electric Road Systems supply battery-electric trucks with electricity from overhead cables via a pantograph enabling HGVs to charge dynamically.

There will also be a hydrogen fuel cell feasibility study, led by Arcola Energy, which will design a possible future trial of hydrogen fuel cell trucks and new refuelling infrastructure in Scotland.

UK government minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “It’s great news that a study involving Scottish utility, logistics companies and the University of St Andrews to design a potential trial for hydrogen fuel cell trucks and new refuelling infrastructure has received a share of £20m UK government funding.

“The UK government’s transport decarbonisation plan will help the country build back greener from COVID-19. With Glasgow firmly on the world stage later this year for the COP26 summit, these projects are vital to showing how the UK is innovating to help save the planet.”

Richard Kemp-Harper, strategy director at Arcola Energy, said: “We’re pleased to be leading this initiative to decarbonise heavy-duty transport. The study will enable us to expand the application of Arcola Energy’s A-Drive fuel cell powertrain platform to a critical group of HGV operators that can benefit from Scotland’s strong potential for green hydrogen production.”