Howard Tenens is to operate the UK’s first pair of 26-tonne rigid dedicated gas trucks under the government’s £20m Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial.

Working in a consortium led by gas specialist Air Liquide, the operator will use the government grant funding to purchase the two new Scania rigids that will run entirely on biomethane.

The trucks will operate out of Howard Tenens’ Swindon depot and be used on a number of its main contracts such as Toolstation, Honda and Cotswolds Outdoors.

Howard Tenens has been an early adopter of gas-fuelled trucks on its fleet, taking part in previous government-funded trials of the technology enabling the firm to run 36 dual-fuel gas/diesel vehicles.

However, in line with industry advances in technology and research into gas-fuelled trucks, the company believes dedicated biomethane vehicles will deliver much greater environmental benefits.

Ben Morris, executive director at Howard Tenens, said: “Adding these new trucks to the Howard Tenens fleet seemed like a natural development in our ongoing journey to use gas vehicles.

“These new vehicles will reduce carbon emissions by around 70% compared to a normal diesel engine and is the most viable option available to us for reducing our carbon footprint.”

Howard Tenens said it as has overcome the availability issue associated with gas by investing in a gas refuelling station at its depot in Swindon, where the two new trucks will be based.

The operator has also partnered with a local company, Advanced Plasma Power, which will supply sustainably produced biomethane for the trial.

Advanced Plasma Power will produce the biomethane from its plasma gasification plant, turning household rubbish into the gas needed to fuel the two vehicles.

Not only does this process reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfill in the local community, but it also generates a clean and sustainable fuel.

Rolf Stein, CEO at Advanced Plasma Power, said: “The biomethane project sets out with a goal to provide sustainable and low cost solutions to the challenges of decarbonising heating and transport.”

The new trucks will join the fleet later this year and be closely monitored throughout the trial to assess if their performance meets operational and environmental targets.

If successful, Howard Tenens will look to add more to its wider fleet.