Six major hauliers will be testing the performance of 81 dedicated gas-powered HGVs in the UK’s largest-ever trial of biomethane-fuelled trucks.

The project forms part of the government’s £20m Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial launched in January, which aims to demonstrate cleaner HGV technology emerging in the UK market.

A consortium, led by industrial gas supplier Air Liquide, includes operators Kuehne + Nagel, Asda, Wincanton, Brit European, Howard Tenens and Great Bear.

They will trial five trucks, in 10 different vehicle configurations, ranging from 12 to 44 tonnes to gather data on performance, fuel efficiency, reliability and cost.

The consortium will also test the effectiveness of a new cryogenic trailer refrigeration technology: a liquid nitrogen cooling system aims to reduce the energy demands of refrigeration units, further reducing HGVs’ CO2 and air quality emissions.

Steve Carroll, head of transport at Cenex, which will manage data analysis and update results to a dedicated gas vehicle hub website,  said: “Cenex has a long history of supporting natural gas and biomethane use in the transport sector, and we are excited to be part of such an innovative trial demonstrating and assessing the performance of the latest advancements.”

Daniel Lambert, commercial director, at Air Liquide Advanced Business & Technologies UK, said: “OEMs are working hard to bring promising zero-emission technologies to the trucks they design, but without real-life road testing by big fleet customers, these technologies will not be able to impact CO2 emissions in a big way.

“We look forward to leading this innovative trial, and sharing the results with other HGV fleet operators across Europe and the globe.”