A fuel that has been around for many years could provide an immediate and easy solution to the increasing demonisation of diesel engines, according to speakers at this week’s conference in London on Clean Air, organised by Certas Energy.

Gas-to-liquid (GTL) fuel has only recently been used as a road transport fuel, as its various properties of helping to improve air quality without compromising efficiency, have become more relevant in providing a practical alternative to diesel.

“We hear so much in the media about how diesel is bad and how we should ban diesel engines,” said Brian Worrall, director of corporate affairs at Certas Energy. “But the point about GTL is that every car is a GTL car, so we can make a difference now by starting to use the fuel. It may or may not be overtaken in time by other technologies. But here is something that you can do today without any modifications to engines, or making any changes to forecourts throughout the UK – there are no massive infrastructure issues. It’s much more of its time now than it has ever been.”

While there are currently no immediate plans to supply GTL to retail forecourts, Certas Energy has now made Shell GTL fuel available at its HGV refuelling station at the Port of Liverpool, providing hauliers with a cleaner alternative to conventional diesel. Once initial trials with hauliers have been completed later this month, the fuel will be made available for all users of the facilities at the Port. Certas Energy, working in partnership with the Peel Ports Group, opened the state-of-the-art site in January and the station will be the first port in the UK to offer Shell GTL fuel.

During the conference it was explained that as part of the paraffinic family of fuels, Shell GTL fuel has improved combustion properties inside standard diesel engines, helping to reduce harmful emissions such as Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and Particulate Matter (PM).

Speakers included Dr Richard Clark, senior scientist alternative fuels at Shell Global Solutions; and Nick Molden, founder and CEO of Emissions Analytics, which undertakes real-world fuel economy and emissions testing with its portable emissions measurement systems.

Andrew Goodwin, national bunker manager for Certas Energy, said: “By offering a practical alternative to diesel that helps to improve air quality without compromising efficiency, Shell GTL fuel has the potential to change the future of fuel usage in the UK, and our goal is to make it available at other bunker sites in our network for both on-road and off-road engines.

“We are proud to be the only provider of the fuel in the UK and look forward to helping visitors to the Port of Liverpool make more responsible fuel choices.”