Mountsorrel firm commits to renewable fuel in freight sustainability drive

Image credit: Tarmac Submitted by Tarmac A Mountsorrel building materials firm has committed to using 100% renewable fuel when transporting products on a key strategic rail route.

Tarmac and its rail freight partner, DB Cargo UK, said hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO) fuels all freight trains running between Tarmac’s Mountsorrel site and its rail-fed asphalt plant in the centre of Birmingham. It is part of an ongoing commitment to supporting the sustainable delivery of the UK’s infrastructure ambitions. HVO is one of the greenest fuels currently commercially available and is made synthetically through the hydro-treatment of vegetable oils or animal fats.

Chris Swan, head of rail at Tarmac, said: “We’re constantly looking to explore and adopt innovations that support efficient and sustainable delivery, allowing us to move the right materials to the right place for customers.

“Developing our rail freight capability and capacity is key to our operations and aligns with the national agenda to deliver a low-carbon built environment.”

It significantly lowers the amount of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emitted when used in diesel engines.

Chris said: “As the fight to cut carbon emissions and reduce air pollution intensifies, rail freight is becoming increasingly important for our sector, and the adoption of new, sustainable fuels will further help to drive down emissions.”

Previous trials by DB Cargo UK estimated that as much as 90% of a train’s carbon emissions can be eliminated by using HVO fuel compared to traditional red diesel.

Roger Neary, DB Cargo UK’s head of sales, said: “We are delighted that Tarmac has agreed to the exclusive use of HVO fuel on this route, which will deliver an important reduction in our own and our customer’s carbon emissions. “Rail freight is already a much greener alternative to road haulage, so to reduce our carbon footprint even further will hopefully make businesses re-evaluate their transport strategies.” In line with its national legally binding commitments, the UK Government has set the rail industry a target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Tarmac’s continued development of its rail freight capabilities forms part of the company’s wider commitment to reducing CO2 from transport across the whole business.

The business is one of the UK’s largest users of rail freight and currently transports more than nine million tonnes of construction materials by rail across the UK each year, helping to cut carbon from road vehicle movements.


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