A two-year trial of biomethane-powered trucks has seen well-to-wheel CO2 emissions slashed by over 1,400 tonnes and trial drivers rating the trucks higher on comfort than their diesel equivalents.

The Dedicated to Gas project, funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK, saw Howard Tenens, Kuehne + Nagel and Asda run a total of 20 Euro-6 trucks on biomethane. Other trial partners included Cenex, Air Liquide, Emissions Analytics and Microlise.

The trial found that the trucks, which were all Euro-6 factory-fitted OEM gas vehicles, saved over 1,400 tonnes of well-to-wheel CO2 emissions over 2.2 million kms, compared to their diesel equivalents. The trial estimates that this is the equivalent to driving 56 times around the globe and saving 3,150 trees - enough to cover 18 football pitches.

Other findings from the trial revealed that while HGVs using a 25% biomethane blend cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 17%, compared to diesel trucks, HGVs running on 100% biomethane delivered emissions savings of at least 76%.

The trucks also scored on comfort with drivers reporting that the gas powered HGVs performed better on engine noise, vibration, overall drive comfort, engine braking and environmental performance.

Fuel costs were also cut, offsetting the higher initial capital investment required to buy a gas powered truck. The study estimates that gas vehicles can pay back the total cost ownership at 160,000 km/year, by the end of the second year.

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Steve Carroll, head of transport at low-emission vehicle research organisation Cenex, said: “This is an exciting time for the gas truck industry. After a decade of hard work, the UK are now in a position where there is a wide variety of OEM gas trucks and clean renewable biomethane available from public refuelling stations.

"This project proved the economic, environmental and operational case for gas trucks powered by biomethane.

"With around 80% well-to-wheel CO2 reduction (compared to) diesel, this proven technology can provide a significant in-road to meeting our net-zero targets and Cenex now look forward to assisting fleets in making the switch.”

Victor Lejona, technical specialist at Cenex, said: “The collaboration between the project partners has been exceptional, which has made monitoring the trial an enjoyable and insightful experience.

"Biomethane is clearly an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to diesel in the commercial vehicle sector. Therefore, fleet operators should seriously consider gas HGVs as a viable option in the immediate future.”