The government has named thirteen companies who are to receive funding to take part in a demonstration project to encourage haulage operators to use low emission freight vehicles.
The £23 million trials, backed by £11 million government funding, are being managed by the Technology Strategy Board, Department for Transport and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles. Companies including Tesco, the John Lewis Partnership, Robert Wiseman Dairies and gas supplier BOC have been named among those taking part in the initiative.
Carbon emissions from vehicles are among the main contributors to air quality problems in densely populated areas, with diesel vehicles among the worst polluters.
The Department for Transport invited truck operators to bid for funding to take part in the scheme in April, in the hope that the trials would support the growth of a fuelling infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles in the UK (see airqualitynews.com story).
Announcing the successful bidders yesterday (August 21), freight minister Mike Penning, said: “There has been a great response to this competition from industry and the successful projects bring together a range of partners including fleet operators, vehicle convertors, gas hub providers and universities.
“These trials will reduce CO2 emissions from freight and provide important information from a range of real-life situations that will increase industry confidence in low carbon trucks in the long term.
“For example, operators often cite lack of gas refuelling infrastructure as a barrier to the take up of alternatives to diesel. These trials include £2.4 million funding for publicly accessible gas stations which will encourage investment in low carbon trucks, and other vehicles, delivering long term benefits for the environment and reduced cost for operators.
Other companies taking part in the trial are: Ascott Transport Ltd, Brit European Transport Ltd, CNG Services Ltd, G-Volution Ltd, Howard Tenens Associates Ltd, J.B. Wheaton and Sons Ltd, T Baden Hardstaff Ltd and United Biscuits UK Ltd.
The demonstration trial fleets will run for up to two years, during which time data will be gathered and analysed by the Department for Transport.
Vehicles involved in the trial must deliver carbon savings of at least 15% compared with the equivalent conventional vehicle. A variety of technologies are being tested including gas-powered, dual fuel or hybrid trucks.
The John Lewis Partnership is seeking to reduce carbon emissions by 70% across its articulated vehicles, and will be testing technology that substitutes diesel with bio-methane.
Meanwhile United Biscuits is proposing to use waste cooking oil to power its 44 tonne articulated vehicles, and Robert Wiseman Dairies is replacing diesel with natural gas in its haulage vehicles.
Gas refuelling infrastructure funded by the competition will be made accessible to other commercial and public-service vehicle operators, helping to build a network around the country.