The Engineer – Biomethane network expands as HGV demand doubles

HGVs make up 4.2 per cent of the UK's carbon emissions and their power demands mean electrification is unlikely in the near future. New petrol and diesel HGVs are due to be banned from 2040, meaning alternative energy sources for the sector are needed.

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Biomethane, or bio-CNG (compressed natural gas), is derived from manure and food waste, and is emerging as one of the prime candidates to decarbonise the HGV sector. According to biomethane supplier CNG Fuels, the renewable energy source cuts emissions by over 90 per cent compared to diesel and can deliver up to a 40 per cent fuel cost saving over the lifetime of a HGV.

The company says the number of biomethane-powered HGVs on UK roads has doubled in the past year, with CNG Fuels having just opened its tenth refuelling station to meet the growing demand. Located in Castleford, the new station has capacity to refuel 500 HGVs per day. In total, the company's network can now cater for 5,000 HGVs across the UK daily, saving up to 1,600 tonnes of CO2 every day, or 584,000 tonnes of CO2 annually compared to diesel.

"Fleet operators around the world are urgently seeking ways to cut emissions from their fleets. In the UK, fleet operators can do so today by adopting biomethane," said Philip Fjeld, CEO of CNG Fuels. "Our fast-growing network of refuelling infrastructure has made biomethane more accessible than ever before, and fleets - ranging from local hauliers through to major household brands - are dramatically cutting emissions every day.

Our newest station in Castleford is building on our existing network, enabling low carbon deliveries all the way from Inverness to Cornwall." The new site will serve HGVs operating in and around Leeds, Hull, and Wakefield, as well as passing fleets using the M1, A1 and M18. Major brands that will avail of the location include Royal Mail, Waitrose, Warburtons and Aldi, the UK's fifth biggest supermarket chain.

"Aldi is committed to reducing our carbon footprint, and adopting bio-CNG HGVs is another step forward in our plans to cut emissions from our UK fleets," said Liz Fox, Aldi UK's corporate responsibility director. "CNG Fuels' latest station in Castleford opens the door to major transport networks into the North East, and their growing network will only continue to extend the number of low carbon deliveries that we can make across the country every day." CNG Fuels says that by 2025, it expects around 10 per cent of the UK's high mileage HGV fleet to be operating on biomethane.

The company is also investing in hydrogen infrastructure in preparation for what it believes will be a 'multi-fuel future', and says it plans to allocate 100 acres of its land to public access hydrogen refuelling. Is bio-CNG the way forward for HGVs, or will electrification play a part in decarbonising road freight? Let us know in Comments below