Government’s low-carbon truck trial second progress report published

The government has published the second progress report of its low-carbon truck trial, which has examined the data provided by 13 separate industry-led projects operating more than 300 alternative-fuelled HGVs.

Launched in 2012, the UK trial aims to enable commercial fleet operators to learn about alternative fuels, for manufacturers to learn new ways to develop products and for the roll-out of publically-accessible gas refuelling infrastructure.

An £11.3m fund was provided by the Department for Transport, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK for the successful projects, which was matched by £12m of industry investment.

By the end of last year, 317 low-carbon trucks were in operation on the trial, the majority of which comprise liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG) dual-fuel technology, alongside a small sample of those running on gas only or incorporating used cooking oil (UCO).

The progress report studies the performance of HGVs running on different fuels.

For example, the 10 dual-fuel UCO vehicles on trial have provided significant gains during operation, with a substitution rate of 86%, no loss in engine efficiency and well-to-wheel emissions savings estimated at 83%. Particulate matter emissions were also reduced by around 40%, particularly ultrafine particles, however, NOx emissions were similar between UCO and diesel vehicles.

Another project reported that its dual-fuel truck was significantly quieter, circa 3dB(A) in dual-fuel mode during low-speed drive and acceleration events. It was also quieter 0.5-1.2dB(A) during idle and hot engine start conditions in dual-fuel mode compared with diesel-only operation.

The trials also aim to establish publically-accessible gas refuelling infrastructure for operators across the UK. A total of 16 new stations were proposed at the start of the scheme, with four commissioned by the end of 2014 and a further six existing sites now upgraded. Station commissioning will continue this year, with 12 new and three upgraded stations planned.