Sustainability

Leading UK retailers commit to renewable biomethane fuel

Leading UK retailers commit to renewable biomethane fuel
Fleets of long-distance lorries from three of the UK’s largest retailers, Waitrose, John Lewis and Argos, will be among the first UK users of a renewable biomethane fuel which is 35-40 per cent cheaper than diesel and emits 70 per cent less CO2.

The fuel was launched in the UK last week (1 December) by compressed natural gas (CNG) provider CNG Fuels and is made from biomethane collected from food waste at anaerobic digestion (AD) plants all over the country.

The gas is captured and injected straight into gas pipelines, which is then compressed at CNG Fuels’s high-capacity refuelling stations in Leyland (Lancashire) and Crewe (Cheshire).

Commenting on the news, Justin Laney, General Manager Central Transport, John Lewis Partnership, said: “We are committed to reducing our carbon emissions and playing our part in tackling climate change. Renewable biomethane gives us the opportunity to make our fleet cleaner and quieter and, with significant cost savings, there is a compelling business case to switch from diesel."

A ‘low-cost, cheap alternative to diesel’

The biomethane gas has been verified as renewable and sustainable and approved under the Department for Transport’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) scheme. The fuel qualifies as sustainable as it originates from AD plants and has not been subsidised by the Renewable Heat Incentive or other schemes.

A nationwide network of refueling stations on major trucking routes fed by the high-pressure gas grid is in development by the Solihull-based company, and it says that smaller ‘daughter’ stations will be created in customer depots within 100 miles of the ‘mother’ stations. Gas will also be delivered by trailer with little price difference from gas bought at refueling stations.

CNG Fuels plans to market the fuel to operators of long-distance heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), as it says they stand to make the biggest savings and claims that by travelling an average of 125,000 miles a year, savings in fuel costs would recoup the extra cost of switching to CNG-powered trucks in two to three years.

Philip Fjeld, CEO of CNG Fuels, said: “Renewable and sustainably sourced biomethane is the most cost-effective and lowest-carbon alternative to diesel for HGVs, and is attracting increasing interest. We are expanding our refuelling infrastructure nationwide to help fleet operators save money, cut carbon and clean up our air. We are proud to be the first company in the UK to offer its customers RTFO-approved biomethane, and are pleased to be able to do so at the same price as fossil fuel gas.”

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