CNG Fuels trucks

Renewable biomethane fuel for HGVs offers opportunity to slash road transport emissions - CNG Fuels

Waitrose among first to adopt cost-effective, low-carbon alternative to diesel

CNG Fuels today announces the launch of renewable biomethane fuel, the most cost-effective and lowest-carbon alternative to diesel for heavy goods vehicles, which offers fleet operators the opportunity to slash emissions.

Waitrose, John Lewis, Argos and Brit European long-distance articulated lorries are already using the fuel, which is derived from food waste, independently verified as renewable and sustainable, and approved under the Department for Transport’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) scheme.

Renewable biomethane is distributed through gas pipelines to refuelling stations owned and operated by CNG Fuels where it is compressed into fuel. It is 35%-40% cheaper than diesel and emits 70% less CO2, on a well-to-wheel basis, offering fleet operators the opportunity to cut costs and report dramatic reductions in carbon emissions.

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 pleased to be able to do so at the same price as fossil fuel gas.”

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”.

CNG Fuels is targeting operators of high-mileage HGVs, who stand to make the biggest financial savings and carbon impact. HGVs account for 4.2% of UK carbon emissions[1] and 127,000 articulated vehicles[2] travel an average 49,000 miles a year,[3] with many travelling much further.

Its customers’ vehicles typically travel 125,000 miles a year. Gas trucks cost more than diesel, but for HGVs doing this mileage fuel savings can repay the extra cost within two – three years. A typical articulated diesel HGV driving 125,000 miles a year emits 100 times more CO2 than a typical passenger vehicle,[4] so carbon savings from switching to biomethane are significant.

The Solihull-based company is the UK’s only dedicated provider of public access CNG (compressed natural gas) refuelling infrastructure. It operates the UK’s two highest capacity CNG stations, in Leyland, Lancashire, and Crewe, Cheshire.

CNG Fuels is developing a nationwide network of refuelling stations on major trunking routes fed by the high-pressure gas grid, compressing gas into fuel at point of delivery. Low processing, transportation and electricity costs make CNG a low-cost, clean solution. The company is also developing ‘daughter’ stations in customer depots within 100 miles of its ‘mother’ stations and will deliver gas by trailer at similar cost.

CNG Fuels has sourced enough biomethane to cover its entire CNG fuel supply. It is made from food production waste, approved under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation RTFO), and generates Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFC). The fuel qualifies for these because it is sourced from anaerobic digestion plants which are not supported by the Renewable Heat Incentive or other subsidy schemes.

Customers will be issued with a certificate stating that they have purchased sustainable, renewable fuel and setting out its carbon content. Including fuel duty, biomethane CNG typically sells at 65p/kg (the equivalent of 49p/litre for diesel), before VAT. Prices are lower for bulk customers.

CNG gas engines meet the latest Euro-6 air quality standards and are roughly 50% quieter than diesel engines. The fuel is popular with drivers because it usually takes less than five minutes to refuel and the closed system means there is no risk of spillage.

CNG is a common fuel in many parts of the world. In the US it has gradually displaced LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), which uses an incompatible technology. The country has 1,729 public and private CNG stations compared with 141 LNG stations.[5] Gas engines are now available in the US which emit virtually no nitrogen dioxide and low levels of particulates, in contrast to diesel.[6]

Low-carbon alternatives to diesel

CNG biomethane is the cleanest and most cost-effective alternative to diesel. It is 35-40% cheaper than diesel for fleet operators and offers a 70% reduction in carbon emissions, on a well-to-wheel basis (the lifetime carbon footprint of the gas from source to its use in the vehicle) when sourced from a waste feedstock.

LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) is typically cheaper than diesel, but more expensive than CNG. However, it cannot be produced from renewable biomethane, without a costly and energy intensive liquefaction process. Drivers also need to wear protective clothing, a facemask and gloves while refuelling.

Biodiesel is usually sold in blends containing a maximum 20% of biodiesel to 80% diesel, because many engines are not guaranteed for a greater proportion of biofuel. Some new biodiesel products are now entering the market that will allow engines to run on 100% biodiesel. However, fuels are costly.

Electricity is not practical for HGVs because of the weight of the battery packs and the time required to recharge such large batteries.

[1] The fifth carbon budget – The next step towards a low carbon economy, Committee on Climate Change, 2005

[2] Vehicle Licensing Statistics, Department for Transport, April 2016

[3] Continuing Survey of Road Goods Transport, Department for Transport, August 2016

[4] The average passenger vehicle does 7,900 miles a year – Source: RAC Foundation

[5] Alternative Fuels Data Center

[6] Cummins Westport press release, October 2016

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

David Mason
Phone: 07799 072320

Simon Wittenberg
Phone:07752 966167



Up to an 84% reduction in C02 emissions


Network of gas pipeline along major trucking routes


Up to a 40% cost saving when switching from diesel


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