Waste firm Veolia has announced it is to trial â€˜the worldâ€™s firstâ€™ electric refuse collection vehicles (RCV) charged directly by power derived from non-recyclable household waste.
The project in Sheffield will see two 26-tonne RCVs converted from diesel to electric power in a scheme to â€œaccelerate the transitionâ€ to zero emission heavy goods, the waste and resources firm says.
In the future, these vehicles are set to be charged using the electricity generated from the non-recyclable household waste that fuels the cityâ€™s energy recovery facility (ERF).
A spokesperson for Veolia confirmed that vehicles will be able to visit charging points at the ERF, which will use electricity generated from the waste to charge the RCVs.
The project is backed by a grant from the Innovation Funding Service (Innovate UK) which will enable two repowered RCV to be trialed over the next two years.
According to Veolia, the lorries will be powerful enough to negotiate 25% gradients on hills even when fully loaded, and are expected to be converted and operational by the end of the year. The project will also convert an additional two RCV that will be used in trials in London.
This latest move by Veolia to decarbonise vehicles follows the recent introduction of zero emission electric street sweeping vehicles, which the company says is â€œanother first for the UKâ€.
In a similar scheme, the company has also introduced electric powered eco-vans to hospital contracts in Liverpool and Southport to make hospital day-to-day work more environmentally friendly. These are recharged using the low carbon electricity generated by the hospital combined heat and power (CHP) plants managed by Veolia. Other low emission compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles operate in Camden, where they carry out graffiti removal, and these vehicles refuel from Veoliaâ€™s new compressed natural gas (CNG) refuelling station.
Commenting on this latest innovation Gary Clark, Veoliaâ€™s UK fleet director, said: â€œThis project highlights Veoliaâ€™s strong commitment to clean air initiatives as we look to improve the environment in our cities.
â€œBy working closely with our customers to deliver fleet solutions that lower emissions we help them ensure they deliver real value for money, and limit costs for local tax payers. By recharging the vehicles from the Energy Recovery Facility this approach also show how local authorities and the public sector can drive sustainability and use green energy to address their environmental challenges.â€
The Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) in Sheffield generates electricity for the National Grid and heat for the city’s district heating network. Configured as a combined heat and power plant it also supplies heat and hot water to over 150 buildings including the Town Hall, Crucible Theatre and Weston Park Museum.
According to Veolia, Sheffieldâ€™s approach means that it sends less than 1% of its household waste to landfill, â€œone of the lowest figures in the UK,â€ the company says.
Veolia collects Sheffieldâ€™s non-recyclable household waste (black bin waste) and sends this to the Energy Recovery Facility, where itâ€™s burnt to produce enough electricity for over 22,600 homes.