CNG Fuels has commenced construction of two new public access renewable biomethane compressed natural gas (Bio-CNG) refuelling stations, two of five due to open in 2019 to cater for increasing demand from HGV operators switching from diesel.
The new public access Bio-CNG stations will serve major truck routes and cities, and will be able to refuel up to 3,000 HGVs a day, a near 500% increase on capacity at the company’s existing stations at Leyland, Lancashire, and Crewe, Cheshire, which can refuel more than 600 vehicles daily.
All of of the fuel supplied by CNG Fuels is renewable and sustainable biomethane approved under the Department for Transport’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) scheme. The gas is sourced from waste feedstocks such as food waste and is an environmentally friendlier and cost-effective alternative to diesel for HGVs. It cuts vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 85% and is 35%-40% cheaper than diesel.
At 20 million tonnes of CO2 per annum, GHG emissions from UK food waste are comparable to annual GHG emissions from the entire UK HGV fleet. By capturing methane from organic waste and utilising it as a transport fuel, food waste and transport emissions can be cut simultaneously.
Construction work on a station in Warrington, at Omega South on the M62, has begun. It is expected to be the largest public access gas refuelling station in Europe, catering to several major hauliers based in the area. It will be able to refuel up to 800 HGVs a day and serve 12 vehicles simultaneously.
CNG Fuels has also commenced construction at Erdington, close to the M6 in Birmingham. The station will be able to refuel more than 600 HGVs a day, and will be built on land belonging to Cadent, operator of Britain’s biggest gas distribution network, at its National Distribution Centre in Gravelly Way Industrial Park. Cadent, with whom CNG Fuels have collaborated previously on Leyland CNG station, has committed to convert its entire fleet from diesel to CNG.
These stations are due to open in the autumn together with a third, previously announced station at the Red Lion Truckstop off the M1 at Northampton, which will be able to refuel more than 350 HGVs a day. The Northampton station is part of the UK’s first large-scale study of how biomethane can help slash road transport emissions, supported by the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK.
Philip Fjeld, CEO of CNG Fuels, said: “The spotlight on climate change continues to grow in intensity and the UK haulage sector has for many years been a laggard when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable and sustainable biomethane allows companies to achieve deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, cut pollution and save money – no wonder demand is soaring. Our customers are already planning to order hundreds of new biomethane fuelled trucks in 2019 and we have interest from companies which run a third of the UK’s HGVs.
“We’re making it easier for fleet operators to make the switch from diesel by developing a nationwide network of public access biomethane stations on major trucking routes and at key logistics hubs.”
CNG Fuels says demand for its Bio-CNG fuel increased by more than 300% in 2018. CNG Fuels estimates that in 2019, Bio-CNG supplied by the company will reduce UK haulage GHG emissions by more than 35,000 tons, with a multiple of this expected for 2020. The John Lewis Partnership already has more than 50 gas trucks and plans to run its entire 500-strong delivery fleet on gas by 2028, while parcel company Hermes also plans to replace its 200-strong fleet of diesel trucks. Other customers adopting biomethane include Asda, Argos, Royal Mail, DHL and Cadent.
The company has also launched a new Bio-CNG tractor unit, which will allow trucks carrying loads of up to 44 tonnes to use biomethane. The 6x2 unit has been developed in collaboration with Iveco and Agility Fuel Solutions.
CNG Fuels expects to start construction on two more public access stations in the autumn, at Larkhall in Scotland and Knowsley, near Liverpool, and plans to add a further eight in 2020, making biomethane fuel available throughout the UK, from Scotland to the south-west. It is also developing the portfolio with support from investment company Ingenious.
The government reinforced their support for biomethane as an alternative fuel in the last budget by extending the fuel duty differential between natural gas and diesel from 2024 to 2032. Element Energy forecasts the UK will have 10,000 HGVs and buses running on natural gas by 2020 and 60,000 by 2030.