CNG Fuels refuelling Waitrose lorry

Refuels has announced that a new biomethane refuelling station for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) has entered construction in Aylesford, Kent.

It will be capable of fuelling more than 500 trucks per day, and with it Refuels is aiming to make low-carbon logistics a reality for dozens of HGV fleets in south-east England.

The start of building work comes just days after the UK government published its long-awaited biomass strategy. The strategy backed biomethane as an attractive fuel for HGVs and other harder to decarbonise fleets which may be more challenging to electrify.

Philip Fjeld, CEO of ReFuels, said: “Bio-CNG is the only fuel available today that can decarbonise the UK’s HGV fleet at the scale and pace required to meet net zero. Well over 100 fleets across the UK are now adopting the fuel en masse and our new site in Aylesford, built on land acquired from the John Lewis Partnership, is a testament to this growing demand and the value fleet operators place on the enabling refuelling infrastructure.”

The station in Aylesford is a joint venture between CNG Fuels, the infrastructure arm of ReFuels, and Foresight Group, a sustainability-led investment management company.

Serving major UK trunk routes including the M20 and M2, the site is being built on land acquired by ReFuels from the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) adjacent to Waitrose’s south-east distribution centre, enabling the retail giant to rapidly grow its fleet of biomethane-powered HGVs, which is already the largest such fleet in the UK.

Justin Laney, general manager – fleet at John Lewis Partnership, said: “John Lewis Partnership took delivery of its first dedicated CNG trucks in 2015 and now operates 400 CNG trucks, which is the largest biomethane-powered truck fleet in the UK. We are delighted that CNG Fuels has started construction of a high-capacity Bio-CNG station in Aylesford, where Waitrose has its south-east distribution centre. John Lewis Partnership is committed to all of its 520 heavy-duty trucks running on biomethane by 2028, and the Bio-CNG station in Aylesford is another important step towards realising this goal.”

The new site – featuring 12 fuel pumps capable of delivering 19 million kilograms (kg) of Bio-CNG annually – will add to the company’s existing network of 12 refuelling stations across the UK.

By 2026, the company aims to have 30-40 stations in operation with a total capacity of up to 15,000 HGVs refuelling per day and more than 600 million kg of biomethane dispensed annually.

ReFuels has one other station under construction in Bangor, North Wales, which is due to start operations in the next month. At least two further stations are expected to commence construction this calendar year.