Operators moving towards dedicated gas-power over dual-fuel HGVs, says CNG Fuels

Dual-fuel HGVs are not the future for green transport, according to natural gas supplier CNG Fuels.

CEO Philip Fjeld told Freightinthecity that UK operators are switching from dual-fuel HGVs to dedicated gas-fuelled lorries, forecasting an eightfold rise in dedicated trucks next year.

Fjeld pointed to the performance of dual-fuel HGVs in the recent DfT-sponsored Low Carbon Truck Trial as a factor.

He said research found that greenhouse gas emissions from the 348 dual-fuel trucks in the trial rose between 50% and 127%, due to the incomplete combustion of methane as the engine switched from one fuel to the other, a process known as “methane slip.”

Fjeld said: “There are no more dual conversions being done because of the problem with methane slip. Operators are decommissioning their dual-fuel vehicles –  so there’s only a handful of dual-fuel trucks on the roads now.”

CNG Fuels works with Scania and Iveco on the development of dedicated gas-fuelled trucks. Based on current order rates, UK demand for dedicated trucks could leap four to eight times next year, up from around 25 this year to 100-200 trucks next year, said Fjeld.

The Solihull-based firm, which already supplies biomethane to John Lewis, Waitrose, Brit European, Argos and Howard Tenens, is also seeing a rise in interest from smaller hauliers.

“Using gas gives them a unique way of winning new business as they can run a close to carbon neutral fleet, save on fuel bills and so bid lower than their competitors,” said Fjeld.

Last week CNG Fuels launched a renewable biomethane fuel, which it claims is 40% cheaper than diesel and emits 70% less CO2.

CNG biomethane, the result of processing food waste, will retail at 65p per kg, which includes fuel duty but not VAT – the equivalent of 49p a litre for diesel.

CNG Fuels is also expanding its refuelling infrastructure, with plans to open between four and six new stations a year.

RHA policy director Jack Semple said the finding from the Low Carbon Truck Trial showed that “government measures to advance dual-fuel HGVs has hit the buffers at great cost to the public purse.”

Semple questioned whether the govenment was innovating in the right direction with methane at last month’s Freight in the City Expo at Alexandra Palace in London.