Two new biomethane compressed natural gas (Bio-CNG) stations, including one claimed to be Europe’s largest, have been opened by CNG Fuels.

The company claims demand for renewable Bio-CNG, as an alternative to diesel for HGVs, has soared 800% since 2017, and is set to more than double this year with the addition of the two new refuelling stations to its network.

The new stations in Warrington – Europe’s biggest – and Northampton are capable of refuelling more than 1,000 HGVs a day, more than doubling the 600-a-day capacity of its existing stations at Leyland, Lancashire, and Crewe, Cheshire. The company is also planning to open an additional six to eight stations over the next 12 months as it expands its network of HGV refuelling stations in line with increasing demand.

Philip Fjeld, CEO of CNG Fuels, said: “We’re at a tipping point. Fleet operators are waking up to the urgency and scale of decarbonisation necessary for net-zero emissions by 2050 and we’re seeing demand for our fuel increase rapidly as a result. Our customers ordered hundreds of new biomethane-fuelled trucks in 2019 and that trend is only set to accelerate over the next decade.

“We’re making the transition to carbon neutrality easier for fleet operators by developing a nationwide network of public access biomethane stations on major trucking routes and at key logistics hubs.”

The station in Warrington is located at Omega South on the M62, catering to several major hauliers based in the area. It can refuel up to 800 HGVs daily and serve 12 vehicles simultaneously.

The Northampton station is situated at the Red Lion Truckstop off the M1 and can refuel more than 350 HGVs a day. The site is also part of the UK’s first large-scale study of how renewable and sustainable biomethane can help slash road transport emissions, supported by the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK.

The John Lewis Partnership has already committed to phasing out all diesel-powered heavy trucks from its fleet and replacing them with over 500 new state-of-the-art Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis & Partners vehicles running on biomethane by 2028. Parcel company Hermes is also replacing its 200-strong fleet of diesel trucks, using Warrington, one of its largest distribution hubs, as a springboard. Other major customers adopting biomethane include Home Bargains, Asda, Argos, Royal Mail, DHL and Cadent.

The Warrington and Northampton stations, as well as the Erdington CNG station under construction, have been supported by fund manager, Ingenious.

Guy Ranawake, senior investment director at Ingenious, said: “We are delighted to support CNG Fuels with the development of the core infrastructure required to deliver CNG to HGV fleets. These investments will play an important role in both reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality in the UK. We look forward to continuing to work CNG Fuels on the development of additional CNG stations which is strongly aligned with our investment strategy focusing on renewable energy and infrastructure.”

CNG Fuels is also consulting on how its network of refuelling stations can best accommodate low-carbon hydrogen and battery electric technologies for HGVs, so that it can support customers when these become commercially viable.