The UK will undertake its largest trial of gas-powered lorries, with several major fleet operators putting the vehicles through their paces.
Six fleet operators will trial 81 gas-powered HGVs on UK public roads under the “Dedicated to Gas” project, part of the Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trials by the government Office for Low Emissions Vehicles and Innovate UK.
The trial will test five different model types, powered by one of three fuels - biomethane, compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) - and in ten different configurations, weighing between 12 and 44 tonnes. They are new to the UK market, said environmental consultancy CENEX, which is analysing data for the trial.
The project will begin in April 2018, and will be led by Air Liquide, a specialist in gases, technologies and services for industry and health. Fleet operators involved include Kuehne + Nagel, Wincanton, ASDA, Brit European, Howard Tenens and Great Bear.
The HGVs will be trialled on UK public roads to make regular deliveries and journeys. They will create a wealth of valuable data on vehicle performance, fuel efficiency, reliability and cost, according to CENEX.
The consultancy expects trial vehicles running on compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 8%. Lorries run on biomethane are expected to have 70% lower CO2 emissions than a similarly sized diesel HGV.
The project will also test the effectiveness of a new cryogenic trailer refrigeration technology, which could reduce the high energy demands of refrigeration units.
Daniel Lambert, commercial director at Air Liquide Advanced Business & Technologies UK, said: “OEMs are working hard to bring promising zero-emissions technologies to the new lorries they design, but without real-life road testing by big fleet customers, these technologies will not be able to impact CO2 emissions in a big way.”
In January OLEV and Innovate UK announced that 20 trial projects would share funding of £20m to demonstrate new technologies and to encourage the introduction of low and zero emission vehicles to UK commercial fleets.