International partnership aims to halve road freight’s CO2 emissions by 2050

A new international partnership focused on tackling road freight emissions was launched at last month’s COP21 climate change forum in Paris.

Its aim is to explore the “currently untapped and unmapped potential” for reducing emissions through better fleet optimisation and collaboration between road freight operators.

Truck manufacturer Scania, operators Nestlé and UPS and optimisation firm Route Monkey have all signed up to the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative (LCTPi), which aims to help meet a science-based target of a 48% drop in absolute emissions between 2010 and 2050.

The partnership is led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and will see companies developing a series of emission-reduction programmes during 2016.

This will be followed by real-world testing in 2017 and 2018.

Ideas being explored include improving the accessibility of the latest fleet optimisation tools to SME operators, co-optimisation of multiple fleet movements through a common ICT platform, and the sharing of assets such as distribution centres and fleet vehicles.

Scania said enhancements in vehicle connectivity and the digitalisation of fleets would play a key role in improving future road freight efficiencies.

“Digitalisation will provide road haulage and transport buyers with a strong tool to take control of the entire logistic chain in order to optimise transport flows,” said Urban Wästljung, senior adviser at Scania.

“Connectivity in combination with new vehicle technology and renewable energy is a game changer in the transition to a sustainable transport system,” he said.

He added that in addition to optimised route and load planning, connectivity can also help reduce CO2 emissions through boosting fuel efficiency and improving driver performance.

Colin Ferguson, CEO of Route Monkey, said: “Route Monkey’s optimisation already today cuts carbon emissions and overheads by up to 20% for more than 400 fleet customers.

“By combining selected fleets through this WBCSD initiative, we will from next year enable additional efficiency improvements of 15% with diesel, and up to 60% with alternative fuels.”

Alan Gershenhorn, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for UPS, added: “With a recent International Transport Forum study projecting that freight volumes could quadruple by 2050, the initiative is an important catalyst to spearhead solutions to help manage and mitigate transport sector emissions.”

The WBCSD said the transport sector produces around 23% of total energy-related CO2 emissions.

Greenhouse gas emissions from transport are one of the fastest growing sectors, while emissions from freight transport have been growing even more rapidly than those from passenger transport.

This is expected to continue to be the case, particularly in emerging and developing economies.



Cross River Partnership wins funding for initiatives to improve city logistics across Europe

Cross River Partnership (CRP) has been awarded more than €90,000 to develop improvements in city logistics across a number of European cities over the next six months.

The ‘Freight TAILS’ (tailored approaches implementing lasting solutions) project will address the challenges posed by increasing freight movements within an urban environment.

Project aims are to establish whether different approaches to issues surrounding the delivery and servicing activity in urban areas are required for different areas within cities, to achieve continuous real improvements in greenhouse gas emissions and therefore air quality and traffic management.

Action plans will be established to develop sustainable urban logistics approaches – such as micro/consolidation, SME co-ordination, retiming deliveries, efficient road space allocation – in specific urban areas. These could include areas of high multi-tenanted office blocks and high street retail areas; areas dominated by single user activity, such as a university campus or public sector administration; and historic central areas.

Business cases for different approaches, data on greenhouse gas emissions and traffic improvements, and recommendations for implementation will be key elements of the action plans.

The CRP is keen to hear from any city that has an interest in this topic, in particular cities from less developed regions experiencing issues in relation to delivery and servicing activities.

Funding was awarded under the URBACT III programme and will support the development of a larger bid (up to €750,000) for the project to be implemented 2016 – 2018.

Freight TAILS Phase 1 is led by CRP in partnership with Maastricht (The Netherlands), Parma (Italy), Plascencia (Spain), and Suceava (Romania). Over the course of the next six months, it aims to expand the partnership to total up to 12 European cities for the full Phase 2 application.

For more information on Freight TAILS please contact Charlotte Knell, CRP project manager,


Flagship European project for hydrogen mobility launched

UK experts in hydrogen vehicle technology have joined forces with experts from other European countries to launch the Hydrogen Mobility Europe project (H2ME).

The largest project of its kind in Europe, H2ME will support the deployment of fuel cell electric vehicles  and hydrogen refuelling stations across Europe.

Four existing European projects will collaborate on H2ME: H2MOBILITY Deutschland, Mobilité Hydrogène France, Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership and UK H2 Mobility.

These initiatives originally brought together the key stakeholders in the hydrogen sector – vehicle manufacturers, hydrogen refuelling station providers and government representatives – to study and develop strategies to make hydrogen-fuelled transport a reality in their respective regions.

Under H2ME, the four schemes will place 200 fuel cell cars (from Daimler and Hyundai) and 125 fuel cell range-extended vans (Symbio FCell collaborating with Renault) in customer hands, and establish 29 new hyrdogen refuelling stations across 10 countries by 2019: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK.

A long-term evaluation campaign will be carried out to demonstrate the readiness of the technology for a mass market, while gathering insights into the customer experience and practical challenges of rolling out the technology at a large scale. This will be used in optimising the technology during its commercial roll-out.


The consortium, led by Element Energy, includes global leaders in the hydrogen and fuel cell sector, from fuel cell and vehicle manufacturers, infrastructure providers and data monitoring and evaluation bodies, including the UK’s Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell technologies (Cenex).

Robert Evans, CEO of Cenex, said, “We are very pleased to be a partner to this step change project for H2Mobility across Europe.   The information gathered during the project will provide an important aid to the understanding of how different fuel cell vehicles work in the ‘real world’ and what future improvements can be made to ensure fuel cell electric vehicles reach the hands of both fleets and everyday users.”

Ben Madden, director at Element Energy and overall coordinator said: “We are very pleased to be leading this project, which will lead to a significant change in the rate and scale of hydrogen vehicle and refuelling station deployment in Europe. A huge international effort over the past two decades has developed hydrogen vehicle technology to the point where it is technically ready for market introduction. H2ME will allow a widespread demonstration of the readiness of the technology, as well as developing valuable insights about the early customer experience and practical challenges of a widespread roll-out of the technology”.

H2ME is co-funded with €32m from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU).

Ricardo to collaborate on EC’s Horizon 2020 Green Vehicle Initiative to develop advanced powertrains for dual-fuel and gas HGVs

Ricardo will be a key partner in the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Green Vehicle Initiative project ‘HDGAS’ – a project that aims to design and test advanced powertrain concepts for dual-fuel and pure natural gas-powered HGVs.

The global engineering specialist said long-haul trucks are an essential element of the transportation mix of modern, industrialized society. They are, however, less amenable to the type of electrification and hybridization strategies that are already contributing to reduced carbon emissions and potential long-term sustainability for the light vehicle sector.

The primary objectives of HDGAS are to deliver improved fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions whilst also meeting current Euro-6 emissions standards. It aims to develop technologies to address this need whilst also meeting or exceeding the latest Euro-6 regulated emissions standards, as well as achieving in-use compliance under real-world driving conditions and CO2 or greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

Ricardo is one of 19 collaborating EU commercial and academic partners on the HDGAS project.

Particular areas of focus for the company will be the development of engine and aftertreatment systems that offer the prospect of delivering real driving emissions well below Euro-6 limits for heavy duty vehicles. Specifically, the aim of the new systems is to demonstrate improvements of around 10% in torque, power, fuel efficiency and GHG emissions reduction.

Through extensive use of simulation methods, Ricardo aims to create a heavy duty natural gas version of its direct injection combustion system that has already been used to great effect in ultra-clean gasoline engines. Technologies that will be investigated in this endeavour include a conceptual study of liquid natural gas direct injection and the application of high energy ignition system based on corona discharge.

Advanced dual-fuel and pure natural gas aftertreatment specification, development and testing is also a critical part the work of the HDGAS project, and an area where Ricardo will lead several partners of the consortium.

This work will aim to provide important knowledge around the challenge of controlling tailpipe methane emissions and the impact of natural gas on some of the conventional aftertreatment technologies that might be applied, such as the risk of methane poisoning of SCR catalysts.

Having specified the system requirements based on simulation and analysis, this information will be used as the basis for rig testing and development followed by incorporation of the technology on the four new heavy duty natural gas powertrains developed within the project.

“For future heavy commercial vehicles, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a critical priority,” said Andrew Noble, Ricardo head of heavy duty engines. “A promising route towards this goal is the more widespread use of natural gas as an alternative to conventional liquid fossil fuels such as diesel. However, the adoption of natural gas power for commercial vehicles faces several technical challenges which are being addressed by the HDGAS project. Ricardo is very pleased to be a partner in HDGAS, contributing innovative technologies in collaboration with the other partners. We look forward to working towards the goal of demonstrating efficient lean burn engines and aftertreatment systems for all the candidate mono- and dual-fuel natural gas engine types.”

Future Cities Catapult report to share UK urban infrastructure best practice with Brazilian cities

A new report from Future Cities Catapult aims to share UK best-practice in intelligent urban infrastructure with cities in Brazil.

It seeks to foster links between local authorities in both countries and encourage the two-way flow of knowledge and innovation about common urban challenges, such as traffic congestion, overcrowding and road safety.

More than 85% of the Brazilian population lives in cities. The new report outlines key challenges facing Belo Horizonte and other Brazilian cities more widely, along with case studies highlighting successful examples of UK innovation that could help tackle them.

A team of technologists, ethnographers, data scientist, urbanists and anthropologists at Future Cities Catapult are looking at why ideas such as smart road junctions, environmental sensor technology and open data have been successful in the UK and how their benefits might be translated to Brazilian cities.

The project is being supported by the Prosperity Fund of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, an annual fund which supports cooperation projects overseas.

Scott Cain, chief business officer of Future Cities Catapult, said “Future Cities Catapult sits within a rich ecosystem of companies working on the products and services that make cities better. The UK is the place to come for urban innovation and this report highlights an exciting opportunity for UK SME’s to take advantage of the fast growing Brazilian market for urban solutions.”

To stay up to date with this and other projects from Future Cities Catapult, please follow Twitter @FutureCitiesCat.

Registration now live for free-of-charge Freight in the City Expo in October

Registration is now live for this autumn’s free-to-attend Freight in the City Expo at London’s Alexandra Palace on Tuesday 27 October.

The event comprises a full seminar programme split into three core zones – Clean; Safe; and Quiet & Efficient – as well as a major exhibition area complete with guided tours.

A top line-up of vehicle manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz / FUSO Canter, Daf, Volvo, IsuzuIveco and Dennis Eagle will be showcasing their latest urban vehicle designs, while technology and trailer firms such as Transdek, Paragon and Route Monkey will demonstrate how to enhance existing fleet operations.

Seminars will focus on highlighting best practice examples of getting goods into city centres in a clean, quiet and safe manner, with an impressive line-up of industry experts and academic leaders on hand to highlight successful initiatives taking place across Europe.

The expo is organised by Motor Transport publisher Road Transport Media, which last year hosted the successful Quiet Cities Global Summit at Twickenham Stadium.

It is a must-attend event for anyone involved in procuring, delivering or receiving freight in an urban location.

Registration is free of charge and you can also sign up to receive fortnightly alerts of the latest urban logistics news.

A full list of exhibitors is available to view, along with a floorplan of the event.

Solar-power-generating noise barriers for highways being trialled in the Netherlands

Researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology have developed large fluorescent noise barriers for busy roads that can also generate solar energy.

Two panels have been erected alongside the A2 highway near Den Bosch in a practical test launched on 18 June – led by Dutch building company Heijmans – to assess the economic and technical feasibility of energy-generating noise barriers.

The Luminescent Solar Concentrator (LSC) panels have been developed by Michael Debje, a researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology, which are able to receive sunlight and guide it in concentrated form to land on traditional solar cells.

Each of the two noise barriers used in the trial are 5m wide and 4.5m high.

This is the first time in the Netherlands that a practical test of this kind has been carried out at real-life size. Researchers want to gain a better understanding of how much electricity these semi-transparent acoustic screens can generate under different lighting and weather conditions.

The first research results show that 1km of energy-generating noise barriers can produce enough electricity to supply 50 households with power.

“Thanks to their many colours, the LSC [panels] are visually very attractive, which makes them ideal for use in many different situations in the built environment,” said Debje. “Further benefits are that the principle used is low cost, they can be produced in any desired, regular colour, are robust and will even work when the sky is cloudy.”

Stijn Verkuilenm, project leader at Heijmans, said: “The Netherlands has enough noise barriers and can also provide the necessary solar cell technology. Our practical test is a simple sum, through which we’re investigating the ways solar cell technology can be integrated in a robust and visually attractive way.”


Kinetic energy recovery system for HGVs could save up to 25% in fuel costs

Two European manufacturers have teamed up to create a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) suitable for use on HGVs.

Skeleton Technologies and Adgero SARL have designed a hybrid system, optimised for intermodal road transport operations, that they claim can reduce fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions by up to 25%.

How it works…adegrohow

The Adgero Hybrid System is an intelligent operation comprising two control units: one on the tractor unit and one on the trailer.

During acceleration, the tractor unit communicates with the trailer to manage the boost provided by an electrically-driven axle on the trailer. Power is stored in a bank of high-power ultracapacitors.

During braking, the motor becomes a generator, recovering kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost as heat and storing it in the ultracapacitors.

Its manufacturers said it will pay for itself within three years in reduced fuel consumption, realising savings of between 15% and 25% depending on terrain and traffic conditions.

The system has been designed to exceed the typical 10-year lifetime of a trailer.

“Road haulage accounts for over a fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, so fuel-efficient solutions are crucial. We are beginning to see regenerative braking systems in automotive applications, but the market clearly needs a similar solution for articulated lorries,” said Mack Murray, CEO of Adgero SARL.

“By partnering with Skeleton Technologies, we are putting the world’s most advanced ultracapacitors at the heart of our system. This will give us a powerful competitive edge in a demanding industry where energy density is a key metric.”

Skeleton Technologies uses a patented graphene material in its ultracapacitors that allows for greater conductivity and higher surface area. In the past year, the company has worked with Adgero to adapt an 800V ultracapacitor power module that is proving successful in the motorsport industry to meet the needs of road freight vehicles.

In recent months the Adgero hybrid system has been through rigorous testing procedures including vibration, shock and immersion testing. On-road trials will begin in 2016 with Altrans, a French logistics company that is part of a trade organisation that represents 11,000 vehicles across Europe.

Adgero and Skeleton Technologies then plan to ramp up production, with the objective of producing 8,000–10,000 units annually by 2020.





Major cities must help freight industry adopt retimed deliveries as congestion levels soar

Major cities must take the lead in helping freight operators adopt retimed deliveries as congestion levels continue to surge.

Following data announced yesterday by INRIX that showed London topped a 25-strong European poll of the most gridlocked cities, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) said it was essential for regional cities to ensure freight was able to flow freely.

Malcom Bingham, head of policy, strategic road network, said congestion was a significant and costly issue for the freight sector, particularly in London. The FTA has calculated that for every minute the largest HGVs are stuck in traffic can cost an operator around £1.

Drivers in London spent an average 96 hours stuck in traffic jams in the capital last year, up 17% on the previous year and racing past second-placed Brussels with an average 74 hours of delays. Those in Greater Manchester wasted 52 hours, while Merseyside and Greater Belfast experienced 37 hours of delays.

Bingham told Freight in the City that regional urban areas must help introduce a package of measures that will allow freight movements to flow freely, such as priority routes and out-of-hours deliveries, which were proven to work successfully during the London 2012 Olympics.

“London’s had the experience and seen the benefits to retiming deliveries, but there are other cities waking up to the fact that this can be an option,” he said. Large cities such as Leeds and Manchester, for example, will be exploring such opportunities.

Buy-in from the entire logistics supply chain is essential to get retiming initiatives up and running, as operators often face a challenge in getting their customers to participate and understand the benefits, as well as operational requirements of ensuring staff are available to receive goods at alternative times.

“The Olympics was a good example,” said Bingham. “Customers realised they would have a problem with their deliveries and were open to change. That’s half the problem, getting customers on board.”

He added it was important for city councils, planners and Local Enterprise Partnerships to assist freight operators by helping to educate their customers. The devolution of transport powers to city regions will also provide an impetus to get new freight initiatives up and running outside of the capital.

“Keeping freight traffic moving is good for the economy and good for the environment,” said Bingham.

The INRIX National Traffic Scorecard Report put the UK in fifth place in the country congestion poll, in which Belgium scooped the top spot, followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg.

Congestion levels rose in more than half (53%) of European cities, which correlated with each country’s economic growth as they began to recover from recession.

A recent study carried out by INRIX and the Centre for Economic Business Research (CEBR) estimated that betwwen 2013 and 2030, the total cumulative cost of congestion to the UK economy would be £307bn, with the annual cost of congestion set to rise by 63% to £21.4bn over the same period.


Sign up online today for Freight in the City expo news

Make sure you sign-up today to receive the latest news and information about the inaugural Freight in the City expo this autumn.

Online expressions of interest are flooding in daily from representatives at local authorities, freight operators, retailers and academic institutions looking to attend the one-day exhibition and seminar programme at London’s Alexandra Palace on 27 October.

A top line-up of vehicle manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, Daf, Volvo, IsuzuIveco and Dennis Eagle will be showcasing their latest urban vehicle designs, while equipment makers such as Brigade Electronics, Tachodisc and Route Monkey will demonstrate how to enhance existing fleet operations.

Seminars will focus on highlighting best practice examples of getting goods into city centres in a clean, quiet and safe manner, with an impressive line-up of industry experts and academic leaders on hand to highlight successful initiatives taking place across Europe.

The expo is organised by Motor Transport publisher Road Transport Media, which last year hosted the successful Quiet Cities Global Summit at Twickenham Stadium.

Andy Salter, MD at Road Transport Media, said: “For all those involved in this sector, whether as a policy maker, consignor or commercial vehicle operator, it is essential everyone is aware of the implications and future requirements for urban logistics. Freight in the City is a forum to bring all the key stakeholders together to share ideas, information and solutions.”